Hiker saved at Bluff Knoll after weather, terrain hamper rescue

An officer who chose to rough it overnight with a hiker who had become lost at Bluff Knoll, near Albany, has been praised.
Nanjing Night Net

Although the hiker was located on Saturday, wild weather kept a police helicopter grounded at Albany Airport after it had earlier dropped off an officer to help the lost man.

The 18-year-old Leederville man had become disorientated and had no food or water.

State Emergency Services volunteers attempted to reach the pair on Sunday morning and while they were able to hear the pair, rough terrain meant the SES volunteers were unable to reach the two men.

The police helicopter was given clearance to pick up the men on Sunday evening.

Police first winched the officer up, before dropping another member of the crew down to prepare the hiker for rescue. Both men were finally picked up about 8pm on Sunday night.

The hiker was taken to Albany Regional Hospital by ambulance as a precaution.

Inspector Jenny O’Connell described the rescue as very difficult and praised the efforts of the officer who chose to spend the night on the ground with the young man, who remains in Albany Regional Hospital.

“I am very pleased to say that both are doing very well,” she said.

“They were certainly affected by the elements and conditions they were in overnight, but both are doing very well.

“He [the officer] was prepared for the drop, with warm clothing, an EPIRB, some flares and some other essential items but we certainly weren’t expecting at that stage to be leaving them, as we were still trying to effect the rescue then.

“He was more than happy to spend the night up there with the young man…he has been very brave and done a tremendous job.”

She said Sunday night’s successful rescue was a matter of necessity.

“Certainly as far as we were concerned it wasn’t an option to leave them there another night,” she said.

“We were very lucky at the time the clouds cleared and the winds eased off, and we were able to get in there and it worked.”

– with the Great Southern WeekenderFollow WAtoday on Twitter

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