Handy whistle helps rescuers find injured elderly bushwalker
A WHISTLE is likely what helped emergency services find an elderly man who was injured while bushwalking near Tomewin on Monday afternoon.
Tweed District Rescue Squad volunteer Jamie Stoddart was among those who spent the night on Mount Cougal, between Tomewin and Currumbin Valley, overnight.
He said it took hours for the first rescue crew to reach the 73-year-old man, who'd fallen from a ledge and become injured shortly after 4pm.
Mr Stoddart was among the crew to arrive at the mountain about 10pm that night - and he remained there until about 1pm Tuesday.
He said the rescue squad had to winch the man 100m up a ledge with their vertical rescue gear, before he could be moved to a clearing and extracted by helicopter.
This meant carrying rescue equipment for hours across rough terrain with no established track.
He said the night on the mountain was "freezing at times".
"It was incredibly windy... crews were able to get a fire going so we were able to get some warmth from that," he said.
He said the injured man, who was believed to be an experienced climber, had whistled for emergency services as they struggled to locate him in the dark.
On Tuesday morning, the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter was dispatched from Lismore to retrieve the injured man.
"Due to the nature of the terrain and the hazardous location, the decision was made to extricate the group in daylight hours," a statement from the service said.
The man was flown to Gold Coast University Hospital in a stable condition with serious injuries.
"This mission highlights how numerous emergency agencies working together can benefit people when needed the most," the statement said.
With poor phone reception, Mr Stoddart said without the whistle, the man may have had to wait until morning to be found.
He said the man was found a short distance beyond the mountain's first peak.
"It was dark when they found him," Mr Stoddart said.
He said the rescue was far more complicated than those on Mount Warning, which has five helicopter winch points.
ORIGINAL REPORT: September 22, 8.29am
AN INJURED bushwalker is expected to be winched from bushland near Murwillumbah.
About 4pm Monday, a 60-year-old man called triple zero after falling and injuring his leg.
He had been walking in bushland near Tomewin, north of Murwillumbah, at the time.
The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter was dispatched from Lismore, but the crew couldn't penetrate the canopy and the man could not be reached.
A team consisting of police, ambulance paramedics and volunteers reached the man after three hours' walking through bushland.
The injured man was stabilised and remained at the location overnight with emergency personnel.
Emergency services plan to carry the man to a clearing on a stretcher, before winching him to safety about 9am.
More details to come.