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News & Media
- Marine safety net proves value in ski race emergencies
- August 28, 2012
The Hawkesbury 120 Ski Race on the upper reaches of the Hawkesbury River was abandoned on the weekend after two injured competitors had to be airlifted off the course on Sunday afternoon.
These were among five serious incidents during the race, scheduled to follow a 120km course from Windsor to Wisemans Ferry and back over two days. Three hundred water skiers were competing in 150 boats.
Marine Rescue Hawkesbury provided a vital marine safety net and coordinated 35 checkpoints for the race, with its two vessels, Hawkesbury 10 and Hawkesbury 20, standing by to respond to incidents along the course.
Unit Operations Officer Peter Moore was both Race Controller, coordinating some 800 people including boat and checkpoint crews, judges and officials, and Safety Controller, responsible for boat and spectator safety, breakdowns and checkpoint control.
At the official start on Saturday, an observer in one of the competing boats required urgent attention after being thrown overboard and in a separate incident, a competitor broke his leg.
These were followed by three priority medical calls for help on Sunday involving skiers falling at more than 100 knots (160kph) and reports of severe pain and loss of feeling.
The first incident occurred in the morning with the other two later in the day, around the half-way stage of the return leg from Wisemans Ferry.
The race was placed on hold in the afternoon when a competitor needed to be urgently evacuated from Leetsvale by medevac helicopter.
Hawkesbury 10, with Michael Bevan, Terry Maitland and two St John Ambulance Officers aboard, attended the scene, along with a doctor on a check point vessel. When a medical evacuation was ordered, the Hawkesbury crew provided landing coordinates for the chopper.
Racing was still on hold when a skier further upriver was reported to be in severe pain and required careful evacuation across the river to an ambulance and then by helicopter.
At this stage, late in the afternoon, the race was called off.
The prompt and efficient response to all five incidents, particularly those requiring helicopter evacuation, clearly displayed the effective training and management of the multiple resources used to cover such events.
Marine Rescue Hawkesbury Deputy Unit Commander Ken Edwards said: “I was an observer by radio as I monitored the radio traffic on all of the incidents.
“It was great to see the speed and efficiency demonstrated as all involved responded as a team.
“Our competent, well-trained Marine Rescue personnel coordinated with doctors and St John Ambulance members to provide the necessary emergency response and immediate attention to the injured skiers. Well done to all.”
Other News This Month
- Celebrate volunteers
- May 16, 2013
- Marine Rescue Woolgoolga throws open its doors
- May 14, 2013
- Thanks to our members in National Volunteer Week
- May 13, 2013
- Water rescue group moves to Fisheries site
- May 08, 2013