Hiker rescued from Kalbarri National Park

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Adam PoulsenMidwest Times
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The State Emergency Service made another rescue from the Kalbarri National Park on Tuesday when a tourist in her 30s suffered from heat exposure.

The Kalbarri SES unit were called to the popular Nature’s Window landmark about 10.45am after a fellow hiker called 000 to raise the alarm.

Unit manager Stephen Cable said the woman was walking the loop trail when she became overwhelmed by the heat.

“She walked the whole loop and got as far as Nature’s Window, but she just couldn’t crack it any further – she was over hot and her body was fatigued,” he said.

“She was coherent, but we just put her on oxygen and then carried her out to the ambulance.”

The woman was treated by volunteer ambulance officers from the St John Kalbarri Sub Centre, before being taken to Kalbarri Health Centre.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, Kalbarri recorded a maximum of 30.5 degrees on Tuesday, but Mr Cable said it was at least 40 degrees in the park, where temperatures often soar due to radiant heat and a lack of sea breeze.

Despite uncomfortable conditions, Mr Cable said it was a standard rescue for crew members.

“It was relatively simple because it was at the Window, and it’s bituminised all the way there,” he said.

“We were able to use our big wheel, the mule, and by God that takes a lot of grunt out of it.”

The rescue was the first from the national park for 2018, following 12 rescues there last year.

Mr Cable said he saw a number of other hikers affected by the heat on Tuesday.

“As we were walking in there were quite a lot of people that were very flushed and heavily panting. They were all just taken by surprise on just how hot it was,” he said.

Mr Cable said anyone planning to hike the loop trail needed to plan ahead and be aware it usually took up to 3.5 hours for a fit person to complete the walk.

“Never do the hike by yourself and make sure you’ve got correct attire and shoes – I’ve actually seen people out there with thongs on,” he said.

“Be aware there’s a difference in temperatures between town and the gorge.

“If need be, get out there at 5am when the sun cracks, and by the time you get back it’ll be about 9am and you’ll beat the heat.

“You’ll also see the gorge in a whole new way, because you’ll get the colours of the rocks with the changing position of the sun.”

Mr Cable also urged hikers to wear sunscreen and a hat and carry at least three litres of water to drink along the way.

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