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SES brightens kayakers' day

Published 09/07/2013

When Mark Fowler and his mates got in to trouble kayaking, emegency services sprang into action to bring them home.

Mark wrote to those who assisted in the rescue - including Bright SES - to say thanks. His letter is published below as a reminder of the impact SES volunteers can have on people's lives.

To all those that assisted,

On the 3rd June 2013, one of our paddling crew was injured as we kayaked down the West Kiewa River near Mount Beauty. Dan suffered a long fall whilst portaging one of the rapids with brief loss of consciousness and a dislocated shoulder. Mark stayed with Dan by the river until help arrived overnight and both were airlifted to Mt Beauty hospital the following day. Both Mark and Dan suffered cold exposure overnight.

I know that the rescue effort was by no means an easy one, occurring in a remote area with no immediate vehicle or walking tracks to access.
We are aware of all the groups that assisted in the rescue: ESTA, Mt Beauty Police, Mt Beauty Ambulance, Bright SES, Mt Beauty CFA, HEMS 2 Crew, Mt Beauty Hospital Doctors and Nurses, Albury Hospital Doctors and Nurses.

The ESTA call takers and dispatchers did an excellent and timely job especially given the difficult location details that were provided by our caller. Thanks, Bright SES!

The Mt Beauty Police, Bright SES and Mt Beauty CFA’s flexibility to go and meet with our caller to talk over location details and narrow down the search area definitely assured us that we were being heard and our information was taken on board. Their willingness to begin a search on foot after dark through difficult terrain and vegetation does not go unnoticed, and the quick response meant that Mark and Dan were found as early as possible and in good spirits. Morale can easily drop in these conditions over time.

Once the crews reached Mark and Dan, we must really praise the Mt Beauty Paramedic that joined the search team. His professionalism and commitment to his job are second to none. As soon as the search team reached the group, he asked for the name of the patient and began his assessments straight away, he didn’t even take time for a break for himself. Very impressive considering the difficult walking and long day he has just experienced.

The Bright SES, Mt Beauty Police and Mt Beauty CFA’s general management of Dan and Mark once they reached them was also great. They were able to keep Dan warm by putting him into one of their sleeping bags and giving Mark a blanket that was provided through AAMI. Whilst Mark and Dan rested, the team keep spirits high by keeping the fire going, and getting some more food organised for everyone before they rested.

Once morning came, HEMS 2 was a welcomed sight in the sky overhead. MICA Flight Paramedic was lowered down to the ground where he made some assessments of the situation and kept us informed on his decision making in regards to evacuation plans. He was clear and concise with his instructions and Mark and Dan felt safe and in very good hands. The HEMS 2 flight crew continued to look after the guys until they landed in Mt Beauty.

It didn’t take long for the doctors and nurses to assess Mark and Dan once at Mt Beauty hospital. Their professional manner, empathy and openness are very much strengths of their work.

Similarly, they doctors and nurses at Albury Base Hospital were great with their thorough assessments of Dan and his other potential injuries before he was discharged.

Thankyou to all the individuals that assisted in the rescue and treatment and the groups they represent, along with anyone who we have not named. Your efforts and contributions to our rescue and treatment are greatly appreciated.
Thank you.

Dan, Mark, Shane and Jono