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NEWSLETTER WINTER EDITION
LAKE’S TRAGEDY

A five year old boy and his 51 year old grandfather were thrown into the cold waters of Arthur’s Lake when their 5m boat capsized and sank in January.

“People on the foreshore saw something was wrong as the boat left the ramp and they jumped in to check everything was OK”, said Inspector Woolley of Bridgewater Police.

“By the time they got to the boat it was under water and suddenly the little boy bobbed up in the water. They grabbed him and kept him safe.”

Unfortunately, the grandfather was not found despite an intensive search by Police, Inland Fisheries and State Emergency Services Officers.

Campers joined in the search as did the Westpac Rescue Helicopter which searched the lake using infra-red scoping.

Police divers located the man’s body about 2 metres from the boat at 2am.

The grandfather and grandson were not wearing lifejackets.

PENINSULAR DRAMA

The 4m dingy of a 51 year old man was found after an intensive sea and land search around the Tasman Peninsular in February.

The man was reported overdue after failing to return from a fishing trip the day before. Three police vessels reached the scene in the afternoon and were joined by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter along with the Dodges Ferry Sea Rescue vessel.

A land search was conducted by Emergency Services between Taranna and Koonya but to no avail.

TWO MATES MISSING

Shane McMahon was overwhelmed with helplessness as he waited news of his missing mate, dairy farmer, Lance Ollington of Elliott near Somerset.

Another mate, a 60 year old man was safe after being plucked from the water and being taken to Strahan suffering from hypothermia.

Inspector Brian Edmonds of Queenstown Police said the alarm was raised about 8.30am with police told a vessel had overturned at the mouth of the Pieman River.

The three men had been staying at nearby Corinna, fishing in the Pieman River and then two of the men headed west to go cray and shark fishing while Shane who had not got his sea legs stayed behind.

John Mc Gee, Captain of Pieman River Cruises, said the Pieman Heads were treacherous even in the best of weather, “Even today conditions were fairly rough, and the tide was roaring out at the time of the accident which worsens the sea.”

The boat was believed to have had engine trouble after being hit by a wave, before being flipped by a second wave while attempts were being made to start the motor.

Search efforts were intensified but the chances of finding Lance were slim and eventually the search was called off without finding him.

CLIMBING DEATH

In April, a man fell to his death from Federation Peak in the State’s south-west.

Two Hobart men were bushwalking in the South-West National Park when the accident occurred about 2.30pm when the men were on the final climb to the 1224m Federation Peak.

The surviving man set of an EPIRB and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter found him at 6.30pm.

NIGHTMARE SHORT WALK

March saw a 20 minute photo-shoot walk turn into a three-day ordeal near Savage River for a couple from Summerhill in Launceston

Lost in dense bush, the couple had an emotional reunion with relatives after their ordeal. What was supposed to be a 20 minute walk went wrong when a wrong turn to the wrong river was taken while pursuing a passion for photography and graphic locations.

Leanne Johnston, 45, and her partner 47 year-old Jonathon Morrison were not prepared for a three day ordeal as they were only supposed to be on a 20 minute walk.

Police feared they may have been caught in a cave-in, in a large white water diversion tunnel off Whyte River or that one person may have been hurt when the couple’s vehicle was found with no damage and looking as thought it had been left for some time.

An intensive search followed with Mr Morrison describing the sound of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter coming up the valley on day three as fantastic, there was no other way to describe it.

HIGHWAY CARNAGE

Late April and a woman died and six were left injured after a horrific pile-up on the Midlands Highway.

The call-out came just after 2pm when seven people were injured in two cars including one towing a caravan.

A woman was trapped and died at the scene while three others were transported by Westpac Rescue Helicopter to Royal Hobart Hospital and three others taken by ambulance.

The highway was closed for several hours with traffic being diverted through paddocks.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

21 December 1 March
In the period the Westpac Rescue Helicopter flew 103 hours. These missions included:

  • Motorcycle accidents 2
  • Motor Vehicle accidents 3
  • Search and Rescue 25
  • Medivacs 9
 
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