SES Volunteers Association of WA

One Association - Many Values

07/07/2014 – Bluff Knoll as it unfolded

Bluff Knoll Search as released by Police Media

All releases are detailed below

Update (as at 6:30am 07/07/2014)

  • The lost bushwalker and the police officer that remained with him on Saturday night were both winched to safety last night (Sunday 6 July 2014).
  • About 7:30pm the Tactical Flight Officer was winched to safety and another police officer was lowered to the ground to remain with the bushwalker while they prepared to rescue him.
  • The Police Air Wing crew, which included the officer that had just been winched to safety then proceeded to winch the bushwalker and the second police officer to the helicopter.
  • By about 8:00pm everyone was in the safety of the police helicopter and the Pilot flew back to Albany Airport to meet a St John Ambulance crew.
  • We would like to acknowledge the great effort of the State Emergency Service volunteers and the Department of Parks and Wildlife Ranger that searched through tough terrain and testing weather conditions in attempt to reach them on foot. They all did a great job – especially given we did not know when the police helicopter crew would have weather conditions that were suitable for flying.

Update (as at 5:45pm 06/07/2014)

  • Due to the lack of light the ground based search and rescue effort has been suspended for the night. It is not safe for the SES volunteers or DPaW Ranger to continue and they are making their way back to the command post.
  • The search team were able to hear what they believe are the bushwalker and police officer, however due to the terrain they have not been able to make a path to them.
  • The SES volunteers will be returning to the command post tomorrow morning to be briefed at approximately 6:00am before they head back out to continue the search.
  • The police helicopter is on standby at the Albany Airport, waiting for the weather conditions to improve enough for them to fly. If they are able to fly tonight, there are two options:
  • The first preference is to conduct an emergency winch rescue of the bushwalker and the police officer.
  • If the first preference can not be done, the police helicopter will drop a care package which includes items to assist with shelter, clothing, food, water and other items.


Update (as at 12:00noon 06/07/2014)

  • The search and rescue team on foot  (SES volunteers and DPaW Ranger) are still making their way to the where the bushwalker and police officer are located.
  • The terrain and weather have made it difficult to reach them.
  • The Police Air Wing crew are continuing to monitor the weather, and it is not known when it will be possible to fly over the search area.
  • The police at the command post are still in contact with the police officer that is with the bushwalker, and there will remain where they are.

Land Search and Rescue Operation – Near Bluff Knoll (SRC96/2014)

Tambellup Police, Albany Police and the Police Air Wing and State Emergency Service volunteers are continuing a land search and rescue operation near Bluff Knoll in the Stirling Ranges National Park today, Sunday 6 July 2014.  About 3:00pm yesterday afternoon an EPIRB was activated in the Stirling Ranges National Park.  It was established an 18 year old man from Leederville was bushwalking near Bluff Knoll. It appears he had become disoriented and did not have any food or water with him.

The RAC Rescue Helicopter was deployed to the scene, however due to the weather conditions the flight crew were not able to conduct a rescue, and the helicopter returned to Perth. A police helicopter was deployed to the scene and a police officer (Tactical Flight Officer) was lowered to the ground to make his way to where the lost man was.  Due to bad weather conditions it was decided it was too risky to conduct an emergency winch rescue. The police helicopter headed to Albany, and the police officer that had been lowered to the ground remained with the lost person overnight to ensure he was ok.

Updates provided by the police officer on the ground overnight was that there was some rain but the two of them were managing ok.

As at 7:00am this morning (Sunday) State Emergency Service volunteers from Albany and Gnowangerup are at Bluff Knoll, attempting to make their way to where the bushwalker and the police officer are. It is expected it will take up to 3 hours to reach them. The police helicopter is also due to fly back to the scene this morning, however the current weather conditions are not suitable for helicopter deployment.

It is not yet known how the rescue will take place as that will depend on the weather conditions, and the terrain encountered by the State Emergency Service volunteers.


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