Oscar 1 takes two at challenge

Member News image Photo courtesy Cr Matthew Evans, Bendigo City Council


CFA’s Oscar 1 technical rescue team has taken out second place in this year’s Victorian Mine Rescue Challenge held at Bendigo’s Fosterville Mine and ISH24 Rescue Centre from 11 to 13 November.


The CFA team won four out of nine categories: ropes rescue, underground search and rescue, skills and best captain to take second place. They were narrowly beaten by the team from Mandalay Costerfield which won the fire, first aid, theory and overall safety categories.

Oscar 1

Hosted by the Minerals Council of Australia, the annual Mine Rescue Challenge pits mine rescue and emergency response teams from sites across Australia against each other in a series of simulated emergency situations.

One of the major mine rescue challenges in Australia, the event not only provides participants with the opportunity to put their skills to the test, but also allows them to share their extensive knowledge with each other.

Image of silo rescue challenge

Nine teams competed in the 2022 event across five rescue scenarios including search and rescue, BA practical and team skills.

Teams faced challenges including responding to a nine-car accident where they had to work alongside Victoria Police and Ambulance Victoria to rescue casualties. Another challenge involved accessing, assessing, rescuing and treating an injured worker trapped on a cherry picker.

Image of rescue

Oscar 1 is a volunteer technical rescue team and the only CFA brigade with underground mine and tunnel rescue capability using long duration breathing apparatus (up to four hours).

The brigade competes in the Victorian Mine Rescue Challenge each year using their expertise and skills in open and closed-circuit breathing apparatus, underground search and rescue, vertical and high-angle rescue, grain engulfment rescue and confined space rescue.  

underground mine

Oscar 1 captain Owen Shay said he was proud of the team and thrilled that they took out second place.

“This year’s Oscar 1 team was made up of people new to technical rescue, so it was amazing to see the development of skills,” Owen said.

“To take second place was a great outcome. It’s very motivating to see all the long hours of training pay off and to know that we are as good as others in this specialised field.”

Photos courtesy Oscar 1; Minerals Council of Australia; Councillor Matthew Evans, Bendigo City Council


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Submitted by Shaunnagh O'Loughlin