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Friday, June 21, 2024

Walkers urged to be prepared after spike in rescues

Tasmanian Police and SES are urging bushwalkers to be prepared after emergency crews were called to five separate rescues in the Northern District within seven days, and 19 in the month of January.

Police Senior Sergeant Mike Gillies said most of the recent rescues were due to walkers not being prepared for changing weather conditions or underestimating the trek.

During the most recent rescue, an interstate couple became lost on the Holwell Gorge walking track near Beaconsfield on Monday afternoon.

While the pair were experienced walkers and reasonably prepared, they admitted to not wearing appropriate clothing for that particular hike.

“Regrettably, we were lightly dressed and not well prepared for pushing through thick scrub on steep slopes,” they said.

“We should have had heavier clothes, gloves and torches with us and have been taught a necessary lesson for future walks.

“As it became darker and the scrub thicker, we realised we were in trouble and used a mobile phone to call emergency. We were found by a team from the SES Launceston – they were wonderfully helpful, friendly and kind. 

“We cannot speak too highly of the way we were so well looked after.”

Senior Sergeant Gillies said while the couple were experienced, it was important to never underestimate the potential risks when bushwalking.

“They did the right thing once they realised they were lost and called emergency services when they encountered trouble, which we would never discourage anyone from doing,” he said.

“However, it is a good lesson for all walkers that our bush tracks can be unpredictable.

“When police and SES personnel are tasked with a rescue, they are putting their own lives at risk entering an area with potentially dangerous weather conditions and difficult terrain.

“If you are planning  a trip, always be prepared for changing weather conditions, and ensure you have the correct safety gear should you need it. Even when travelling on simple walks people should be prepared for the possibility of losing the track and have some method of navigation available and be able to use it under stressful conditions.”

SES Northern Regional Manager, David Nicholls said the region was lucky to have dedicated, and well-trained volunteers who were willing to take that risk and put others first.

“Our volunteers dedicate their own time to train for these scenarios, and would never expect any praise,” he said.

“It is wonderful to see their commitment being recognised and appreciated by those they have rescued.

“They have had an extremely busy few weeks, and as police have said, we urge bushwalkers to be prepared and to prioritise their safety when heading into familiar or unfamiliar areas.”

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