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Rope rescue specialists save 12-year-old girl
CFA’s North East Region's Technical Rescue Brigade and Mt Beauty Brigade Rescue responded to a call from Ambulance personnel to extract a 12-year-old girl (Heidi) who had fallen 10 metres into the Gorge at Beechworth and sustained a severe neck injury.
by Robert Fraser, Thoona Fire Brigade
Four members of North East Region's Technical Rescue plus three members of Mt Beauty Brigade arrived on scene simultaneously.
After confirming the situation with Ambulance Victoria, local police and SES members on scene, the retrieval plan was formed and implemented by the CFA rope rescue members.
SES members assisted to bring all the rescue equipment to a safe work area to rig up the stretcher and rescue system to retrieve the injured girl.
The stretcher crew was lowered to the girl’s location, the Ambulance personnel had the girl all packaged up for extraction with a neck brace and secured on a spine board.
Quickly loaded on to the stretcher, Heidi and the crew were hauled back to the safe work area with the assistance of the SES working as the haul team on the rescue rope.
Heidi’s grandmother was waiting near the ambulance and was relieved to see Heidi and thanked all the emergency services personnel for retrieving her granddaughter from the gorge.
The ambulance took Heidi to hospital for scans. The whole operation took a little over two hours.
The local police, Ambulance Victoria, SES and CFA teams all deserve a pat on the back for how well they worked together to produce a positive outcome for the injured Heidi.
While this rescue was not overly complicated it was organised in a timely manner and implemented efficiently.
A terrific example of how the state’s emergency services can collaborate to provide an effective service to Victorian communities in times of need.