Phone proves lifeline, but SES issues warning after woman rescued from Kalbarri National Park
Hikers have been warned to prepare before visiting Kalbarri national park after a woman became distressed in sweltering heat and had to be carried out on a stretcher with oxygen.
The 58-year-old was had travelled with her daughter from the middle of the Northern Hemisphere winter in France several days before taking on the loop trail in the park last weekend.
Kalbarri State Emergency Service local manager Steve Cable said the pair were about 2.5 to 3 km from the finish of the 9 km trail when the woman “got into quite a bit of distress”.
“She sort of had to sit down. She was drifting in and out of consciousness,” Mr Cable said.
“Thank goodness in the past 12-18 months they put a phone tower in, so they were able to call Triple Zero.”
Mr Cable said the trail followed a river bed and the woman had to be given oxygen and stretchered up a cliff.
“You scramble up the rocks and you pick your way through,” he said.
Mr Cable said temperatures in the park area were about 10 degrees hotter than in Kalbarri.
“The reassurance angle and the psychological angle, the fact she had rescuers there, she settled down,” he said.
“She went off to hospital and that’s as much as I know.”
Before that, “she was in dire straits”.
The SES has an accord where calling Triple Zero from the park activates them.
Fire services then assist from a suitable location once people are rescued from the park interior.
Mr Cable advised park visitors to seek local knowledge through social media or face to face before heading out.
He said the local visitors centre and the park website had helpful information.
People should also pick the right time of day, wear appropriate clothing and footwear, and ensure they carried a mobile phone and plenty of water.
“There are (mobile phone) dead spots, but it’s pretty good,” he said.
“If you walked 100 metres you’d be right, you’d get comms about 98 per cent of the time.
“It’s quite a good signal, it’s certainly made it easier for emergency response groups.
“When you’ve got the mobile it’s certainly an excellent tool for communications which means it’s a more effective rescue.
“Make sure you’ve got tons of water.”
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