Give us res­cue re­sources: SES

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

LO­CAL SES chief Bob Tay­lor has called for the es­tab­lish­ment of a lo­cal swift wa­ter res­cue team to cut the time taken to re­spond to emer­gen­cies such as last week’s dra­matic mid-stream res­cue of a tourist.

Mr Tay­lor said last week’s civil­ian res­cue from fast-run­ning wa­ter in Moss­man Gorge won’t be the last.

“We need a swift-wa­ter team in Moss­man,” Mr Tay­lor said.

“We’ve had at least six se­ri­ous in­ci­dents in five years.

“We’ve had drown­ings, we’ve had peo­ple trapped on rocks.

“It’s time the fire brigade pull their fin­ger out and train some­one lo­cal to be able to re­spond.”

Mr Tay­lor con­tacted the Gazette to cor­rect an er­ror in last week’s story “Gorge res­cue ’piece of cake’.

The Gazette re­ported that the SES took an hour to reach Moss­man Gorge af­ter a tourist was stranded on a rock in mod-stream.

The swift wa­ter res­cue team was in fact from the Queens­land Fire and Res­cue ser­vice, which has re­spon­si­bil­ity for res­cues in­volv­ing fast-flow­ing wa­ter.

Lo­cal Ter­rence Gib­son and the Korean tourist he as­sisted waited for an hour on the north­ern bank of the Moss­man River be­fore the res­cue team ar­rived.

Mr Gib­son said he doubted the tourist would have been able to hold on to the rock she was clutch­ing un­til the fire brigade ar­rived.

Rus­sell Matthews, the in­spec­tor for QF&R north­ern com­mand in Cairns, said crews from the aux­il­iary sta­tions in Port Dou­glas and Moss­man would not be trained any time soon to en­ter the wa­ter to as­sist in res­cues.

In­stead, a num­ber of lo­cal staff would be given “level one” swift wa­ter res­cue train­ing.

“We’re work­ing at the mo­ment on how we can de­liver train­ing to Port Dou­glas and Moss­man sta­tions this year,” Mr Matthews said.

“We know it can be very dif­fi­cult for aux­il­iary units, where most peo­ple work full­time, to get time off to do three or four days’ train­ing.”

The train­ing would in­volve learn­ing how to use “throw lines” and se­cur­ing a scene to as­sist the fully-equipped Cairns-based team.

Mr Matthews said ba­sic train­ing and equip­ment was no sub­sti­tute for a full-scale swift-wa­ter res­cue team.

“When our guys en­ter the wa­ter they’re wear­ing wet suits, buoy­ancy vests, hel­mets. They take a vest for the vic­tim which helps them float if they get sep­a­rated from the res­cuer,” he said.

“It’s a to­tally dif­fer­ent en­vi­ron­ment to the flood­wa­ter res­cues which the SES are ex­perts in.

“There are so many hid­den dan­gers in fast­flow­ing waters.

“At­tempt­ing to res­cue some­one in those cir­cum­stances is very dan­ger­ous.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.