Rescue team celebrated
TWELVE volunteers have been honoured with awards for their efforts in the recovery of an American man who was struck and killed by lightning at the summit of Mount Warning.
Tweed/byron Local Area Command and Volunteer Rescue Association NSW commissioner Mark Gibson presented the awards at the Tweed Heads Police Station on Wednesday night.
Mr Gibson said it was great for “troops on the ground” to be recognised for their professionalism, including the men and women who retrieved the body of Sam Beattie, 24, and his injured girlfriend Michele Segalla, 23, on December 6 last year.
The New York couple were illegally camping on the 1556m summit when the tree they were beneath was struck by lightning. Mr Beattie’s feet were touching the tree and he was killed instantly. Ms Segalla was taken to Murwillumbah Hospital where she was treated for shock and minor head and neck injuries.
Tweed/byron LAC superintendent Wayne Starling said the volunteers battled “horrendous conditions” as they climbed the mountain to rescue Ms Segalla and recover Mr Beattie’s body, with the weather unsuitable for retrieving the couple via helicopter at the time.
He said the ceremony was “symbolic of the many, many jobs” the Volunteer Rescue Association assisted police and other emergency services with.
Tweed VRA secretary Drew Carr said he and the branch were grateful to the police for organising the ceremony.
Mr Carr said the relationship between the two agencies was tight-knit.