SES Volunteers Association of Western Australia Incorporated

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25/11/2010 – Bluff Knoll Rescue

SES Volunteers were called out yesturday to assist in a search for missing hikers.  Four hikers were rescued after becoming lost in rugged terrain in a Great Southern national park last night.  Police spokeswoman Ros Weatherall said four men, all middle-aged, were climbing to the summit of Bluff Knoll in Stirling Range National Park when they ran into difficulty shortly after 3pm.

It is understood the group became disoriented when they were caught in heavy low cloud. They had also run low on supplies of water and food. Police and SES volunteers, paramedics from St John Ambulance and rangers from the Department of Environment and Conservation, were called to the park when concerned relatives of the men reported them missing.

Attempts to retrieve the men were hampered by the low cloud, which prevented a police helicopter locating them amid dense scrub.  Rescuers were instead guided to the missing men, who had mobile phones.  She said while one of the men was picked up about 8pm, it was not until midnight that rescuers located the three remaining men. All the men were suffering from dehydration.

Police Media has provided the SESVA with the following update:

Just after 3pm on Wedensday 24 November police were alerted by concerned family members that four people hiking to the summit of Bluff Knoll had no water supplies left.   Gnowangerup Police, SJA and SES all attended. The police helicopter was called in to assist with the search and rescue operation. The police helicopter was used to rescue the four missing hikers and they were taken to SJA personnel who provided medical treatment. One hiker had an injured knee and all four were treated for dehydration.
The rescue operation was completed by 12:30am Thursday 25 November and all personnel were stood down.

The SES advises  hikers to plan their trip, have the appropiate clothing and carry sufficient food and water.  Always notify the appropiate authories or a friend where you are going and your expected return time.

A Hiking Checklist

What you take will depend on where you are going and how long you plan to be away, but any backpack should include the following:

  • Cell phone
  • Clothing (always bring something warm, extra socks and rain gear)
  • Compass
  • First aid kit
  • Food (bring extra)
  • Battery powered touch
  • Foil (to use as a cup or signaling device)
  • Hat
  • Insect repellent
  • Map
  • Pocket knife
  • Pocket mirror (to use as a signaling device)
  • Space blanket or a piece of plastic (to use for warmth or shelter)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Trash bag (makes an adequate poncho)
  • Water
  • Waterproof matches or matches in a waterproof tin
  • Whistle (to use as a signaling device)

Always allow for bad weather and for the possibility that you may be forced to spend a night outdoors unexpectedly.

It’s a good idea to assemble a separate “survival pack” for each hiker to have at all times. In a small waterproof container, place a pocket knife, compass, whistle, space blanket, nylon filament, water purification tablets, matches and candle. With these items, the chances of being able to survive in the wild are greatly improved.  


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