CFA and SES rescue cyclist on the Great Alpine Road

A cyclist taking part in a charity ride on 12 December suffered mechanical failure and went over the edge of the Great Alpine Road about eight kilometres south of Harrietville.


The initial call for emergency services was to assist an ambulance response, and the first responding units (Bright SES and Harrietville Fire Brigade) were quickly en route.

The task was soon upgraded to a high-angle rescue because of the nature of the terrain. This led to calling out the Hume Region HART (High Angle Rescue Team) comprising members from Wangaratta brigade (District 23), Wodonga and Mt Beauty brigades (District 24) and Bright and Wangaratta SES units.

The cyclist was around eight to ten metres below the road and being attended by members of his party, one of whom was a doctor. Ambulance personnel scrambled down the slope to treat him.

Upon arrival, HART team members from Bright SES set up a rescue system using the Harrietville tanker as an anchor. When joined by members of Mount Beauty brigade, a stretcher party was formed and lowered to the injured cyclist. Due to the position of the truck being used as an anchor, the Great Alpine Road was closed for around half an hour. 

The casualty was placed on the stretcher and raised to the road where he was given further treatment and taken to Harrietville for transport by helicopter to Melbourne.

To give some idea of the size of this rescue, 24 emergency services personnel were involved at the scene. Resources activated are listed below, though not all made it to the scene because the rescue was completed in a short time once a complete HART team was in operation. 

  • Harrietville brigade pumper and slip-on
  • Mount Beauty brigade rescue truck
  • Bright brigade FCV and slip-on
  • Wangaratta brigade Technical Rescue Pod and support vehicle
  • Wodonga HART team
  • Bright SES - two vehicles and high-angle cache trailer
  • Wangaratta SES
  • Victoria Police
  • Ambulance Victoria - 3 vehicles
  • HEMS helicopter

Author: Graham Gales, Bright SES