Res­cue team cel­e­brated

Tweed Daily News - - NEWS POLICE AND COURT - Clau­dia Jam­bor

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.

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