Accident a tragic warning during holiday season

Circular Pool in Dales Gorge at Karijini National ParkVolunteer rescue crew and St John Ambulance were called out to Karijini National Park last weekend to respond to a Priority 1 alert.

Jo Heptinstall, unit deputy manager at Tom Price SES said a 35-year-old worker from a mine site near Tom Price allegedly back-dived into Circular pool at Dales Gorge.

Tom Price SES received the call for help about 1pm Sunday afternoon and was advised the man had been retrieved unconscious from the water.

Because of the Priority 1 status, SES activated a cliff rescue team, calling in rescue volunteers from Newman.

After a re-evaluation of the situation by ambulance crew, the status was changed and the vertical rescue was cancelled. The man’s need for medical attention was more urgent than first thought and he was carried out through the gorge instead, which takes less time than waiting for a vertical recue to be set up.

“There were a number of factors that changed how they felt the patient would be best transported out of the gorge,” said Ms Heptinstall.

“You have to think about whether the patient would be stable during the time of the transfer, how long that transfer is going to take and whether medical crews can get from where they are to where they

need to be to continue medical care.

“We conscripted every able man and woman to assist with carrying this gentleman out because it was a long carry out.”

The carry out took about three hours to execute and at 5pm when he was loaded into the ambulance the man was regaining consciousness.

Ms Heptinstall said the man was displaying symptoms she would expect after a large fall into a small body of water.

“When we were activated he was suspected of having arm, leg, spinal and head injuries and then we became concerned about internal injuries, which led to the Priority 1 status,” she said.

“Once he was assessed at Tom Price Hospital that status was downgraded so he was sent to Hedland instead of Perth.”

Ms Heptinstall said around 21 guests freely volunteered to help carry the man out of the gorge and a team from Marandoo Mine including a paramedic also offered their assistance.

“Full credit to everyone for working so hard and being so successful,” Ms Heptinstall praised.

“None of the other people involved in the rescue received an injury, and given the terrain that is quite remarkable and quite satisfying.

“It’s a reminder to be careful in the gorges and make sure you have the right footwear and you don’t climb where you’re not supposed to.”

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