Trike riders survive fall down cliff
AN emotional father was forced to listen to his wife and daughter's cries of agony as the pair waited two hours to be rescued from the side of a cliff yesterday.
Standing on the roadway about 25 metres above his family, the motorcyclist waited for emergency crews to retrieve the injured women after their motorised tricycle went off a cliff near Tomewin about 2.50pm.
The pair were riding the vehicle, believed to be a Spyder trike, which witnesses said became airborne after the 46-year-old driver lost control on an uphill bend on Tomewin Road.
The woman, her 17-year-old daughter and the bike crashed into thick bushland and the pair had to be winched up the cliff by the Tweed District Rescue squad, with the aid of paramedics, firefighters and police.
Emergency crews battled the steep incline and the heavy vegetation, as the two patients were put on stretchers and winched back to safety.
Both were taken to hospital by ambulance just before 5pm.
Police said the 46-year-old suffered a broken leg and a possible shoulder injury and was taken to The Tweed Hospital, while her daughter was taken to Gold Coast Hospital with head injuries.
Their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
It is understood the family, from Brisbane, had been on a day trip to Pottsville with three other motorcyclists and were heading home when the crash occurred.
A friend said the mother and daughter were experienced riders who travelled on Tomewin Road often. The vehicle may have experienced a steering malfunction, the woman said.
“I ride the same bike as them,” she said. “What happens once the steering goes, it just locks it.”
Tugun residents Heather and John Lanham were flagged down by a member of the group who saw the tricycle go off the cliff.
“We didn't see it happen but there was a bike rider in front of us who saw it in his rear-vision mirror and he said he saw the bike airborne and going off a cliff,” Mrs Lanham said.
“He waved us down and we could hear the whimpering and crying.”
Mr Lanham and the motorcyclist climbed down the steep drop to see if the women were alright.
“One of them has a broken leg,” Mr Lanham said when he arrived back up at the roadway.
“The other girl's head was down and her legs were caught in the lantana.
“We got her out and put her in an upright position.
“She pleaded with us to get her helmet off but we said not until the paramedics got there.”
Mr Lanham, who suffered cuts to his arms from the vegetation, said he talked to the injured pair to keep them calm.
“The mother was pretty upset about the daughter,” he said.
“I was just talking to them, saying to take deep breaths.”
Police said a crane would be used to retrieve the vehicle, after a tow truck was unable to do so.
The Ballina Crash Unit is investigating the incident.