Police issue outdoor safety reminder after recent rescues

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Police are issuing a reminder to the community to place a high priority on their own safety after two recent rescues in the ACT. 

The rescues demonstrated, in different ways, the importance of being well-prepared before undertaking outdoor activity. 

On Saturday morning, 5 March 2022, police responded to a request for assistance at the One Tree Hill area in Hall, where a mountain bike rider had been injured and needed to be stretchered out. 

The mountain-biker, who was one of a group of riders, was able to give emergency services a precise location using ‘What 3 Words’ from an emergency location app on his phone. 

AFP Search and Rescue (SAR), ACT Ambulance Service and ACT State Emergency Services (SES) personnel responded, and the man was extracted on a stretcher to a waiting four-wheel-drive ambulance. 

In the second incident on Sunday night, 13 March 2022, police received a call from a hiker in the Tidbinbilla reserve, Paddys River.  

The hiker had become disoriented when returning to his vehicle from Johns Peak.  

His hike had taken longer than he had anticipated and the man was not wearing clothing suited to the forecast overnight weather conditions. He was also walking unaccompanied, and the difficulty of the search was increased as the man had not informed anyone of his expected location or time of arrival. His mobile phone was not GPS-enabled, and its battery was running low. 

AFP SAR, ACT SES, and ACT Parks and Conservation rangers commenced a search on foot for the man, starting at his last known location near Johns Peak. Shortly after midnight the lost person was able to make his way back to the Mountain Creek carpark where the SES and ACT Parks and Conservation ranger were stationed, after following a creek line that led to a road. After being assessed and speaking with Police, he was able to drive himself home. 

AFP SAR Specialist, Acting Sergeant Andy Craig said the difference between the rescues showed the value of taking a few simple measures. 

“These two rescues, while both in relatively remote ACT areas, were quite different from the outset,” Acting Sergeant Craig said. 

“For the first one, we knew where the injured cyclist was, and we were able to get accurate information about their condition because they were not alone. This sped up the response considerably.

“The second incident was made more difficult because the hiker couldn’t tell us where he was in the dark, and nobody knew he was running late. 

“A few small steps could have made a large difference. Little things like wearing appropriate clothing, carrying extra food and water, and not going alone are a good start. And having a smartphone or another device that can determine your accurate location can save hours if someone has to find you.” 

Media enquiries 

Police Media — (02) 5126 9070, act-police-media@afp.gov.au 

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