Mount Barney Search and Rescue Exercise Turns Real Rescue

A Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX) at Mount Barney quickly turned into reality for emergency services personnel, after a search was launched nearby for missing hikers mid-exercise.

On Saturday, March 25, Queensland Police Service (QPS) including PolAir, dog squad and QPS drones along with Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, State Emergency Services (SES) cadets with drone technology, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) and Queensland Remote Area Tracking specialists each gave presentations before combining technologies for the exercise.

The concept of the exercise was to simulate a search and rescue (SAR) operation for ‘lost persons’ in remote bushland, with approximately 100 rescuers from all agencies co-operating to communicate with the missing persons, and formulate a tactical plan to safely locate and retrieve them.

Demonstrations were conducted showcasing methods of remote communication, various search techniques and the application of technologies in SARs which can be applied to both missing persons and disaster situations.

The exercise was underway when at approximately 12.15pm, a call for service was received for two hikers lost at nearby Mount Maroon.

Police co-ordinating the SAR re-directed SES volunteers from the SAREX into Mount Maroon, where they successfully located the two women, but due to weather conditions the group set up camp for the night.

The following morning the group were successfully guided to safety, with all making it out safe and well.

Logan Western Patrol Group Inspector Tracy Dale said this is a first-hand example of how the exact strategic inter-agency co-operation that was being practiced, is utilised almost every day to save lives.

“Each rescuer has a crucial role to play in search and rescues, and our ability to work together is critical to quick, effective and safe rescues,” Inspector Dale said.

“I applaud the SES volunteers and local officers who jumped into action mid-exercise, putting themselves at risk to ensure these lost hikers made it to safety.”

Anyone planning a hike, cycle or travel into Queensland’s beautiful great outdoors is urged to be prepared.

Always research weather conditions and the location, follow established tracks, heed any warnings and signage, and ensure you’ve packed essentials including phone, water, food, medical supplies and medications.

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