UPPER SWAN SEARCH
Thursday 25th August 2016, 9.45 am, kids are out of the block taking part in the book week character parade. My apple watch interrupts my hot Milo and my ‘Cars n Stars’ lesson prep. I read- ‘Nat’s SES Phone’ - “Search underway now – need a few horses asap in Upper Swan. Plus ground crew to take radios etc to meet them. Please reply asap- Nat”. So I send my ‘Yes’ reply and await further instructions. Mind you the wait was only seconds and in that time I could find not a soul that I could advise of my immediate departure.
They; the Principal and Deputy were otherwise engaged I guess, showing off their creative costume handy work with the students. So I leave the information with another colleague to deliver and make my way home to hitch the float and collect my trusty steed Mission. Thankfully I’m a bit of a freak (shut up the lot of you) as far as being prepared goes. As per usual my hay was firmly packed into hay nets, tank was full of water, most of my riding gear was already in the float and my PPE was ready to be donned. ‘OH WHAT’S THAT? THE SES PHONE AGAIN’ I haven’t even finished writing this recount, looks like we’re back out searching tomorrow bright and early, so I’d best finish this and get some zzz’s in. Stephen and I arrive at the truck stop on the corner of Great Northern Hwy and Apple St Upper Swan and met up with Corrie and Jen, plus Alex who kindy delivered the hand held radios before slipping back home to continue her unfinished, day off business. We all had our brief along with the other units; Canine, Foot Teams and Police, the whole time struggling to hear anything over the roar of the RAC Rescue Chopper. The SMEAC was delivered, roles were assigned, Stephen filled our saddlebags with goodies to get us through the day and we set off to our search area with a road traffic vehicle escorting us along The Hwy. Riding along with us was two members of the Mounted Police Unit; Claire on her Bay Shire, Reg and Mark on his grey Percheron, Blue. Missing Person, Micheal Huria, 23 yrs old, possibly injured, mentally unstable. With these details in mind we diligently searched our designated areas looking for the person and or evidence of. Most of the time fighting off huge biting ants and quicksand type horse swallowing mud, as well as long overgrown pastures with the odd piece of wire and debris thrown in. Throughout the day our hand held radios let us down and we resorted to using mobile phones as our most reliable source of communication. On one occasion, Corrie had finished corresponding with Stephen who was radio controller back at base and I asked if I could speak to him, “hey honey, can you cancel my hair appointment, looks like I’m not going to make it?” I said and followed it up by saying to Corrie, “benefits of mobile phone vs hand helds!”. Only to hear later that the Police Co-ordinator and the Incident Controller had heard my request and they all had a little giggle as the phone was on loud speaker. Several minutes prior to this Steve (one of the four Steve’s there that day) the Police IC, had been heard saying “talk to you later, I love you”, when Stephen said “who me, thank you” and this was followed up with a mwah blowing kiss gesture in return. All units worked extremely well together with some evidence being found approximately 2kms away from our search area. Unfortunately, the missing person on this occasion was not located. During our debrief which was given mostly by Steve Summerton, we were thanked for our time and dedication. It was mentioned that our new Super Intendent Amanda Williamson was extremely quick to respond and have members of our unit along with their horses deployed. This is great news for The Mounted Section and hopefully we will be a little bit busier as far as searches go in the near future. Thanks go out to our beautifully well behaved boys; Charlie, Beau and Mission for their dedicated service to the unit.
Mounted Section at a recent training exercise