Tasmania recognised at national search and rescue awards

The Tasmanians behind two challenging rescues have been recognised for their achievements at the national Search and Rescue awards.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) this week announced this year’s recipients of the National Search and Rescue Council’s (NATSAR) Australian Search and Rescue Awards which recognise outstanding contribution to search and rescue in Australia.

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter crew, involving officers from Tasmania Police and Ambulance Tasmania and Rotorlift staff, won the Professional (Totem Pole rescue) while a group of Tasmanians won the Non-Professional (Parsons Fall rescue) categories.

Senior Constable Chris Williams, Constable Nikki Mackintosh, Intensive Care Flight Paramedic Emily Byers, Pilot Chris Fahey, Senior Constable Callum Herbert, Constable Andrew Oakden, Constable Cameron Rennie, Constable Phillip Vanderwal were recognised for their outstanding efforts in the rescue of a 26 year old male climber at the Totem Pole, Cape Hauy on 11 February 2019.

The man was winched to safety when he suffered spinal injuries attempting to cross from Totem Pole back to Cape Hauy.

A team of four specialist search and rescue officers were sent in to move the man from the rock ledge to the cliff top where he could then be safely winched into the Westpac Rescue Helicopter. The officers worked through the night and eventually managed to safely attach the patient to a stretcher where he was hauled up to the cliff top.

The man was taken to the Royal Hobart Hospital, suffering multiple spinal fractures, broken ribs and a broken ankle.

A total of 18 winches were conducted by the helicopter crew who, together with the four rescue personnel, were exposed to extremely challenging conditions yet under extreme pressure managed to bring the patient to safety.

Tasmanians Athol Beer, Stewart Geard, Craig Neville, Anita Denholm and Kade Wooldrage were awarded a non-professional Search and Rescue Award for a rescue of a woman who fell at Parsons Falls on Sunday 21 April 2019.

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