The Grampians National Park in western Victoria has been the site of three major rescue operations in the past week alone, prompting the State Emergency Service to reissue advice to tourists.
- It has been a busier summer than usual for the SES in Victoria when it comes to national park rescues
- A rock climber remains in a serious but stable condition after falling from a cliff in western Victoria yesterday
- The incidents have prompted the SES and other organisations to remind park users of their personal responsibilities
Grampians SES duty officer Jarrod McLean said a man fell about 15 metres from a cliff at 3pm on Tuesday.
“It took crews more than an hour to walk to the casualty with the equipment they needed to undertake that rescue,” he said.
“I’d like to thank everyone on the rescue, they all played an integral part.”
Crews remained at the isolated site until 9.30pm undertaking the operation.
The man in his 30s was airlifted to the Royal Melbourne Hospital at 7:15 in a stable condition, with serious upper and lower body injuries.
The Hollow Mountain incident followed a hiker being taken to hospital in an ambulance on December 30, after getting injured on the Grand Canyon Walk near Halls Gap.
The day before, a person who was injured falling into MacKenzie Falls had to be winched out of the remote area by helicopter
Mr McLean said events happening this frequently left volunteers fatigued, despite them being resilient and dedicated people.
“Some of the toll it takes on them is emotional: The fact they know there is someone out there that needs assistance. The time away from their families and employment too,” he said.
“And then the physical toll of grabbing that 20-kilo pack and walking in for that hour, and potentially having to relocate the casualty into a stretcher and carrying them out when the helicopter can’t winch.”
Grampians not the only busy area
On December 30, Bacchus Marsh SES crews joined police and Parks Victoria to assist a man who became lost while hiking in Lerderderg Gorge.
Just a day earlier, crews assisted a hiker with a suspected broken ankle on a remote section of the track.
The SES says anyone planning to explore the gorge, the Grampians and other remote parks should take steps to prepare.
These include packing a first aid kit, sufficient food and water and a fully-charged mobile with a back-up charger and separate GPS, as conditions on the trails can be complex and unpredictable.
The service advises people should also ensure they wear the right clothes for the conditions, such as weather-proof jackets and sturdy shoes.
In Victoria’s Sunraysia, Mildura police have also warned people to know their limits when hiking.
They have issued a reminder people should not rely on phone GPS, as they require mobile networks to render maps and often lack crucial information for bushwalking.
“Pack a map that is current from an endorsed site like Parks Victoria,” Mr McLean said.
“Even visiting the visitor information centre or local Parks Victoria office to let them know you’re in the area can be of assistance.”
Parks Victoria also suggests walkers tell family and friends where they are going, so they can alert people if they do not return.