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VICSES and CFA join forces to complete complex rescue

Published 08/01/2016

An epic display of teamwork saw multiple VICSES and CFA crews work together to successfully rescue a man trapped in an overturned excavator

excavator rescueEmergency services responded to a report that an excavator had rolled over in Warrak near Ararat, on Wednesday afternoon.

Initial responding crews were confronted with an excavator that had tipped over while loading rocks into a crusher, trapping the driver inside.  Quick thinking co-workers used another excavator to secure the excavator from falling any further. 

Due to the position of the excavator and the need to be working at height with a significant fall risk, a request for specialised High Angle Operators and Technicians was made.  As Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) Ararat Unit is one of five endorsed in high angle rescue Units across the state, members quickly got to work with specialist support from Stawell SES, Ballarat City Country Fire Authority (CFA) and Warrnambool CFA.

Crews worked for over four hours with Ambulance Victoria and Victoria Police in a true multi-agency response to rescue the causality in this highly technical operation.  The casualty was transported to hospital by Ambulance Victoria.

Ararat SES Deputy Controller and High Angle Rescue Instructor Geoff Dunmore said “it was great to see all agencies working together, sharing ideas and equipment to ensure the casualty was rescued as quickly and as safely as possible in this challenging rescue.”

CFA Operations Officer and Rope Technician Henry Barton said “The information provided by SES Commander Donna Dunmore en route to the incident ensured CFA Technical Rescue teams could start work straight away with a high level of confidence in the plan.  This is an uncommon rescue and it was pleasing to see how systems were adapted for the situation, ensuring safety was paramount for all involved.”

The SES and CFA have a developed a joint steep and high angle rescue system, that’s in the final stages of implementation.  This work has seen both agencies agree on the alignment of rescue systems and equipment. This rescue and many others recently have shown the benefit of agencies working as one.  It’s expected the joint agency training courses will be completed by mid-2016.