“I was very relieved when I heard the helicopter overhead.”
Rod is part of a bushwalking group who get together once a month for various walks. On the day of the accident the group were up behind Brighton, when about half way through the walk Rod said to the fellow behind, “just be careful, this rock’s a little loose.” As he went to move it out of the way it rolled back to him and knocked him over, causing him to lose his balance and roll over the edge of a cliff at the side of the track.
“You wouldn’t have known there was a cliff there, the grass grew right up to the edge.” Rod explains. The fall from the cliff was about seven metres, and he estimates he rolled another ten metres after he hit the ground. Stunned momentarily, he looked up see his fellow walkers coming down on either side of the cliff to check on him. One set off an epirb (a radio beacon), and another went to the homestead of a local farmer to call the local ambulance as well.
The impact of the fall, it was later determined, left Rod with more than twenty fractures overall, seven in his pelvis, and a badly dislocated shoulder.
Rod continues, “I’m lying there, a couple of the fellows kept talking to me, keeping me conscious…I was very relieved when I heard the helicopter overhead.”
Rod explains that, thanks to the presence of the helicopter, they didn’t have to move him very far. The ambulance team carried him to a safe spot, and from there the helicopter came back and winched him up, and the trip to the hospital was mercifully short. He goes on to say that if the helicopter hadn’t been available he would have had to be carried at least a kilometre to get to the ambulance, followed by a drive over rough terrain to get to the hospital.
Rod is pleased to say he’s well, and back out with his bushwalking group again.
“It’s (the Westpac Rescue Helicopter) worth every cent, I tell you! It was still. Like sitting on a sixpence, so to speak. The crew were fantastic.