Dights Falls tragedy a reminder, our rivers are changing

Dights Falls tragedy a reminder, our rivers are changing

24/11/21, 6:16 am

This morning, shortly before 02:00AM, three of our Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) Units were activated for a rescue, along the Main Yarra Trail at Abbotsford.

Our three VICSES crews worked together with Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) and Victoria Police, in the rescue of a couple.

Upon arriving, the volunteers joined in on the multi-agency task force, working to develop a strategy to rescue the stranded individuals. Unfortunately, as crews arrived, one of the stranded, was declared deceased.

As part of the joint effort, Land-Based Swift Water Rescue (LBSWR)-trained volunteers worked with the other agencies to ensure the safety of their responders by dispatching in an inflatable rescue boat, and holding at designated points along the rescue route, as Victoria Police and FRV worked on the rescue of the remaining individual.

With Victoria Police leading the incident, 10 volunteers from VICSES Essendon, Port Phillip and Northcote Units worked with FRV in this rescue.

If you would like to read more about this incident, visit the Victoria Police incident/news page, https://www.police.vic.gov.au/dights-falls-drowning-and-rescue-0

Safety advice to remember when you’re out on the water:

- River conditions can be variable given the higher water levels reached during Spring;

- With river banks inundated regularly, the ground may not be as firm as you expect;

- As we come out of lockdown after a series of significant weather events, remember that the landscape around your favourite beauty spots may have changed.

Quote attributable to VICSES State Agency Commander David Tuček:

“We would like to take the opportunity to remind people not to drive through, walk in, or play in floodwater, including our full and fast-moving waterways.”

Overnight, we had a sad incident at Dights Falls along the Main Yarra Trail at Abbotsford, where a couple of canoists required rescuing; one successfully and, unfortunately, the other person who lost their life.”

With renewed river rises and very wet catchments, please take great care as you move around our waterways even if there is no flood warning. This incident highlights the power and weight of that water, as we continue to see higher-than-usual rain totals across the State.”

Particularly as Victorians get out and enjoy our new freedoms, its important to understand that waterways may be different to what you experienced in previous years.”

Quote attributable to VICSES Central Regional Training Officer, Justin Navas:

We were glad to have been able to rescue the stranded individual. We are, of course, very sad to see someone lose their life at Dights Falls; especially as several of us attended a rescue of two swimmers who became stranded in the same spot, at the same time last year.”