Five-hour remote rescue, elderly man saved - Burrapine

Published: 26 Mar 2022 01:46pm

Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) has joined other first responders in a five-hour long mission to rescue an elderly man in rugged bushland, at Burrapine, west of Macksville on the state's mid-north coast.

Around 7.20 last night, a FRNSW 'in-water' rescue team, SES volunteers and NSW Ambulance paramedics were faced with transporting an 82-year-old man suffering chest pains after recent heart surgery, out of a remote area.

The FRNSW flood water experts, pre-positioned in the area to respond to emergencies during the weekend weather threat, had just completed a joint training drill last night when they were called into action.

At 10pm, in darkness and heavy rain, paramedics and their patient were separated from the rescue party by rising floodwaters.

The combined emergency team set up a base of operations downstream as it mapped out a plan to extricate the patient, whose condition they feared was deteriorating.

Temporary lighting was established and a new State Emergency Service High Clearance Unimog vehicle was brought in to transport the man across the rugged bushland to a waiting ambulance.

The patient was placed on a Stokes litter and carefully lifted onto the truck.

The FRNSW flood water rescue team walked out in front, clearing a path for the vehicle as it crossed rapids to reach the patient and make the return journey.

At one stage, the firefighters were confronted by a snake as they trekked through tall grass.

The operation took about five hours to complete with the elderly man, who had been drifting in and out of consciousness, further stabilised and transported to hospital.

In-water team 'Alpha' is one of four FRNSW flood rescue teams based at Coffs Harbour and Lismore during the current wet weather threat.

"It was another great example of our emergency services working together during these difficult times," FRNSW Station Officer, Matthew Gregory, said.

Updated: 25 Oct 2022 11:41am

listView more incidents

Details about this incident may change and should not be used as emergency information and/or advice.

For all life threatening emergencies, call Triple Zero (000)

For flood information, warnings or requests for non-life threatening assistance, call the SES on 132 500 or visit the NSW State Emergency Service website here. [external link].

For information directly relating to bushfires please call the Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 679 737 or visit the NSW Rural Fire Service Website here. [external link]