The Cessnock District Rescue Squad was kept very busy throughout the Christmas period attending several serious incidents of various natures.
Around 4pm Thursday 20th the squad was called to George Downs Drive between Laguna and Buckety with reports of a horse trapped and very distressed in a horse float. Shortly before Rescue personnel arrived at the scene we were informed via Police Radio that the horse had been released from the float and our services were not required.
At 1.40pm on Christmas Eve the squad was called to a serious hang glider accident at Hunter Lookout. The hang glider veered into the cliff face near the lookout, becoming entangled amongst several trees and leaving the male pilot trapped and seriously injured. Upon arrival at the lookout Rescue Personnel were advised by Paramedics that they were not able to access the patient and that he was unresponsive. Upon further assessment it was obvious that the rescue would be a very complex exercise. The hang glider was upside down and dangling precariously about 15 metres down from the lookout and held only by several small trees with the pilot suspended upside down by his harness further down the cliff face. The immediate priority was to secure the glider along with assessing and securing the patient. Cessnock District Rescue Squad Personnel were able to accomplish this fairly quickly with the patient found to be unconscious but breathing. Whilst this immediate priority was being addressed other Cessnock District Rescue Squad Rescue Personnel were busy setting up the required vertical rescue systems to facilitate extrication if unable to be winched out by helicopter. An Ambulance helicopter from Sydney with a Doctor and Intensive Care Paramedic was tasked to the incident but upon inspecting the site the decision was made that a “winch out” from the cliff face would not be possible. The helicopter landed in a safe area and the Doctor and Paramedic were transported back to the scene. Upon their arrival two Paramedics made their way down to the patient to further assess the patient’s condition and assist with his extrication. Sections of the glider frame had to be cut with a battery powered reciprocating saw to allow for it to be removed away from the patient. A specific vertical rescue stretcher called a stokes litter and a spine board were lowered down to the patient and after around ninety minutes of delicate and complicated vertical rescue work combined with some hard physical labour the man was placed into the stokes litter. Using a vertical rescue haul system and some muscle power the man was then lifted up to the lookout. Once safely on level ground the Doctor and Paramedics were able to further assess and treat the man for possible head, spinal and internal injuries. Whilst the patient was being stabilised at the lookout the helicopter flew back overhead and after a short time he was winched into the helicopter and transport to the John Hunter Hospital. Due to the nature and complexity of the incident emergency personnel from various services attended the scene and all worked extremely well together in very adverse conditions, including 40 degree heat.
The squad was called to a single vehicle accident at 2.30pm on Wednesday 26th that resulted in one man losing his life. The accident occurred on Murray Street between Abernathy and Kitchener when the vehicle left the road, rolled and collided with a tree. Upon arrival of emergency service personnel the male driver and sole occupant was trapped and critically injured. Whilst Paramedics treated the man Rescue Personnel used hydraulic cutters and spreaders in an effort to remove the vehicles doors and roof as quickly as possible. However shortly into the rescue operation the man stopped breathing and become pulseless, working together Paramedics, Rescue and Fire personnel immediately begin resuscitation efforts and quickly removed the man from the vehicle. The man was placed into an Ambulance and resuscitation continued but despite the best efforts of emergency personnel the man showed no signs of recovery and was pronounced deceased by Paramedics at the scene. Murray street was closed to all traffic at Abernathy and Kitchener throughout the rescue operation and for several hours after whilst Police Investigation Offers assessed the scene to determine the cause of the accident.
Later that night at 10.45pm the squad was called to a single vehicle collision on Pelton Road between Pelton and Ellalong. Whilst responding to this incident the Rescue Squad’s recourses were split following reports of a second person’s trapped accident at the intersection of Vincent and Cooper Streets Cessnock. Rescue 1 continued to the Pelton incident with Rescue 2 diverted to the Cessnock incident; however upon arrival of Police it was confirmed that no persons were trapped at the Cessnock incident so Rescue 2 was re-tasked to the Pelton incident. Upon arrival at the scene the young female driver of the vehicle was injured and extensively trapped after the vehicle had veered of the road, rolled and collided with a tree, coming to rest precariously at the top of a large storm water culvert. Whilst Paramedics assessed the women Rescue personnel secured the vehicle with props and chocks to prevent it from shifting. Rescue personnel then used hydraulic cutters, spreaders and rams to remove the driver’s side in what was a slow and complicated operation. After approximately 45 minutes the women was released from the vehicle and further stabilised by Paramedics. The women was transported a short distance by Ambulance to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter that had landed nearby before being transferred and flown to the John Hunter Hospital with possible head, spinal, internal and limb injuries. Pelton Road was closed to all traffic between Pelton and Ellalong as a result of the incident until around 1am.The squad was called to a Millfield property at 2.30pm Friday 28th following an incident involving an excavator. The male operator’s foot somehow become trapped under the excavator and was unable to be freed by those on scene with him. Paramedics advised Rescue personnel upon their arrival that the man’s foot had been trapped for some time and due to a potentially fatal condition known as “crush injury syndrome” the extrication must be done slowly and precisely. Whilst Paramedics carefully monitored the man’s vital signs Rescue personnel used an airbag and hydraulic spreaders to lift the excavator off the man’s foot. Once released Paramedics further stabilised the man before he was transported by Ambulance to the John Hunter Hospital.
Squad personnel also attended multiple calls for wind damage to trees and roofs along with several calls to remove snakes from premises throughout the district.
Local businesses are reminded of the Business Sponsorship scheme in which your business receives quarterly advertising in The Advertiser. For more details regarding the Business Sponsorship scheme contact the squad on firstname.lastname@example.org
Cessnock District Rescue Squad
Public Relations Officer