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Several bushwalkers rescued by helicopter in Tasmania and New South Wales
At approximately 5pm AEDT on Friday 22 February, AMSA’s Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia) detected a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) near Federation Peak in Tasmania’s Southwest National Park.
A rescue helicopter was dispatched from Hobart and located a man with a leg injury. He was airlifted to hospital for medical treatment.
On Sunday, another distress beacon was detected by RCC Australia in Southwest National Park at approximately 11.30am AEDT. The beacon was traced back to two bushwalkers, also near the Federation Peak area, who had come across a female bushwalker with a suspected fractured ankle. RCC Australia dispatched a rescue helicopter to locate the injured woman, who was flown to a hospital in Hobart for medical treatment.
RCC Australia also coordinated two search and rescue operations in New South Wales’ Blue Mountains. At approximately 3pm AEDT on Saturday, a PLB was activated. RCC Australia traced the beacon to a solo bushwalker in the vicinity of Grose River Gorge. Due to bad weather, aircraft had difficulty in pinpointing the exact location of the beacon and RCC Australia tasked police to conduct a land search.
The following morning, the man notified police he had been able to find his own way out. He had been washed down the Grose River and was unable to get back to the marked trail. Once the river level dropped, the man was able to find a way out. He did not require medical assistance.
Another beacon was activated in the Blue Mountains on Saturday. At approximately 4.30pm AEDT, six bushwalkers activated a beacon after they became stranded by a fast rising river near Mount Wilson.
RCC Australia was unable to dispatch aircraft due to bad weather and police were dispatched to conduct a ground search. The following day the party was winched to safety by a rescue helicopter from Bankstown. None of the bushwalkers required medical treatment.
AMSA encourages all bushwalkers to carry a GPS-equipped beacon in case of emergencies and register their beacon with AMSA to significantly reduce the response time in search and rescue operations.
Bushwalkers are also encouraged to always carry necessary equipment such as sufficient food and water, warm clothing, first aid kit and a torch.
AMSA also strongly advises bushwalkers to check the weather forecast before they head out and consider postponing their bushwalk in the case of bad weather.