Salmon Holes mo­bile tower ‘aid to res­cue’

Albany Advertiser - - NEWS - Toby Hussey

Im­prov­ing mo­bile cov­er­age at Salmon Holes would be a ma­jor boost to res­cue ef­forts, ac­cord­ing to Al­bany Sea Res­cue.

ASR op­er­a­tions co-or­di­na­tor Chris Johns said he had been push­ing for 15 years to have ser­vice up­graded around the coast near Salmon Holes, where 10 peo­ple have died since 2010.

Mr Johns, who has been in­volved in the res­cue op­er­a­tion for each of those fa­tal­i­ties, said no re­cep­tion at blackspots meant by the time emer­gency ser­vices were alerted it was of­ten too late.

“When (a per­son) sees his mate fall in at Salmon Holes at The Gap, he needs to be able to make a mo­bile call from that po­si­tion,” he said. “At The Gap, peo­ple quite of­ten have to leave the area un­til they get a sig­nal. That can be 10-30 min­utes un­til the ini­tial call has got out — by then the per­son has prob­a­bly drowned.”

Mr Johns said he would like a tower to be in­stalled on Eclipse Is­land, about 6km off the main­land, but had been told by the State Govern­ment that was not vi­able.

How­ever, he said at least hav­ing an­ten­nae in­stalled on land could pro­vide vi­tal mo­bile re­cep­tion.

Emer­gency ser­vices have been meet­ing with O’Con­nor MP Rick Wil­son, who in Par­lia­ment this week pushed for an up­grade to mo­bile cov­er­age at Salmon Holes.

Mr Wil­son said Salmon Holes would be “the one tower in (the) elec­torate that still re­quires a so­lu­tion” once the Fed­eral Govern­ment’s Mo­bile Black Spot Pro­gram of 74 new tow­ers was com­pleted.

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