Blue Mountains Abseiler Rescue
Sublime Point, Leura is up in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. As the name suggests, it commands stunning views and over the years has become a popular spot for abseiling. On Sunday 14th April, however, it wasn’t so sublime for one abseiler who’d got himself into quite a bit of trouble. He’d fallen approximately 15m, hit the cliff face and broke both his ankles.
In critical condition
It was quite a complicated rescue operation and involved about a dozen emergency and rescue vehicle crews plus 2 helicopter crews as well. The accident happened about noon and it wasn’t till late afternoon that the abseiler had been airlifted to Westmead hospital in a critical condition. By this time, it was getting dark and they still had to bring out the rescue crew and pack all the gear up. Everyone was exhausted.
It was about this time that we came along. We’d been enjoying a quiet Sunday roast at home when we heard sirens and choppers. Hours later, we could still hear them, so we decided to drive down and see what was all the noise was about. When we came across the scene and found out what was happening, we asked if they needed assistance with some refreshments to be ready for when they got the rescue crew out. The police superintendent looking after the operation readily agreed.
Calling for backup
So we raced off and called up our own backup team. We needed hot water, coffee, milk, sugar, mugs, muffins, biscuits, snacks, soft drinks and bottled water. We got back within about 45 minutes and set everything up on a table we’d also brought with us — voila!
By this time the whole rescue team were all back out of the valley safely, and they wondered where on earth we’d sprung from! We explained that we were part of the local Rapid Relief Team and that this is what we do — help out in situations like this.
As the police officer explained, the rescue crew are often exhausted, and it gets very cold hanging off a cliff for hours during the rescue operation but even once they’re out, there’s still work to do — getting their rescue gear all sorted and packed ready to go before they can leave.
The two Police Rescue chaps who’d done all the hard yakka rescuing the abseiler hadn’t had any lunch and by this time it was about 7pm, dark and getting really cold. They, in particular, were extremely grateful for the refreshments and they even dropped hints that they’d like to see us next time!