Just before 11.15am this morning (Friday, 14 January) emergency services were called to Washaway Beach near Grotto Point, Clontarf, following a report of a person tripping and falling on the rock platform.
NSW Police Marine Area Command were first to the location by water but were unable to access the person on the rocks due to large swells preventing the approach of the police boat. A call was made to Surf Life Saving NSW to see if they were able to get closer with a jet-ski but they were unable to launch a craft from Manly due to another rescue.
A NSW Ambulance Inspector made the 1.5km trek into the area with Fire and Rescue NSW crews from Narrabeen and Manly Stations. With difficult terrain preventing easy access to the injured person from the top of the cliff, a specialist vertical rescue firefighter from Narrabeen Station roped up and abseiled to the rock ledge below.
Once at the base of the cliff, the firefighter found a 56-year-old man suffering an injury to his right knee. Commencing first aid, he relayed the man’s condition to paramedics above and it was determined the best option was to winch the man out by helicopter.
As two special operations paramedics arrived on scene, a specialist trauma paramedic was lowered to the rock platform from the NSW Toll Ambulance Rescue Helicopter which had been deployed from Wyong (main image & video below).
The injured man was prepared for winch extraction, and was lifted from the rocks accompanied by the specialist trauma paramedic (video below).
Based on the man’s stable condition and the fuel status of the helicopter, it was decided to land at nearby Tania Park, Balgowlah Heights, where a landing zone had been secured by NSW Police. The helicopter landed just after 1.30pm, where he was loaded into a NSW Ambulance and taken by road to Northern Beaches Hospital.
Fire and Rescue NSW Narrabeen Station Officer Scott Bennett led the team of specialist rescue firefighters from Narrabeen who were first on scene with the injured man.
“We’re happy that we could get on scene as quickly as possible and get one of our rescue firefighters down to assist the gentleman who was injured. Access to the location was not ideal, but this is the type of rescue we train for, especially on the Northern Beaches,” said SO Bennett.
NSW Ambulance Inspector Charnan Kurth, who was on scene with five paramedic crews said conditions made the patient’s recovery difficult.
“The patient fell and injured himself in a place that was really difficult for rescuers to access, particularly in today’s swell conditions.
“Emergency services worked really well together, deploying a range of rescue teams to complete what turned out to be a complicated extrication. One slip in a place like that not only leaves you in a world of hurt – it’s a major exercise for anyone coming to the rescue,” said Inspector Kurth.
Images: Fire and Rescue NSW, NSW Ambulance
Video: Fire and Rescue NSW