A model aircraft has sparked an emergency response to Bangalley Head this morning.

Just after 7.00am this morning (Monday, 05 December), emergency services were called to Marine Parade, Avalon Beach, following a report of a beeping that sounded like a digital watch over the edge of the cliff. A man who had been early morning bird watching had heard the sound of beeping but could not see where it was coming from, and contacted Triple Zero (000) in case it was a person who had fallen.

A combined services response, including officers from Northern Beaches Police Area Command, Surf Life Saving NSW Avalon Beach patrol, specialist rescue firefighters from Narrabeen Station, two NSW Ambulance Special Operations Paramedics, NSW Ambulance Inspector Christie Marks and the NSW Toll Ambulance Rescue Helicopter, was tasked to Bangalley Head, Avalon Beach, to investigate where the sound was coming from and whether a person may be in distress.

As police, firefighters and paramedics staged at the top of Bangalley Head, the NSW Toll Ambulance Rescue Helicopter searched the area, reporting a model aircraft that had appeared to have crashed onto the headland, and signs of human habitation near a cave in the headland with clothing and other items visible.

NSW Ambulance Inspector Christie Marks

NSW Ambulance Inspector Christie Marks (image above) said that with confirmation of possible human involvement, the decision was taken to investigate more closely.

“With the beeping sound, there was concern that somebody was in trouble. There was a cave that had bits of clothing in it, so it was unknown if somebody was down there.

“The decision was made to send down rescuers to check there wasn’t somebody in trouble down there. The Special Operations Paramedics went down and were able to confirm the cave was clear and the source of the beeping was the model plane. They located the plane and brought it back up,” said Inspector Marks.

Fire and Rescue NSW Narrabeen Station Officer Chris Lloyd

Special Operations Paramedics Grant Armstrong and Peter Wilson performed a vertical descent with the assistance of vertical rescue firefighters from Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Narrabeen Station. FRNSW Narrabeen Station Officer Chris Lloyd (image above) said his crew set up the rope system and assisted the paramedics.

“We set up the rope system and the paramedics went down while we maintained the ropes for them. We were concerned that there may have been someone in the cave, with evidence of someone dwelling there, we had to check it out.

“The paramedics investigated the cave and located the beeping to be coming from the remote controlled plane. While this was happening, the owner of the plane appeared. He was walking and had lost it the day before. He was able to give us some more information about it, which was helpful.

“The Ambos did a great job, we coordinated really well with them and the police, and we got to put our skills into practice. At first, we were out searching for an injured person, and then it ended up being a plane rescue,” chuckled Station Officer Lloyd.

FRNSW recover a model aircraft lost over a cliff

With an all-clear, the paramedics were hauled up the cliff, bringing the model aircraft with them (image above) which they returned to the owner. NSW Ambulance Inspector Christie Marks said that while the incident turned out not to be a person in distress, it demonstrated the capability of emergency services to respond in a coordinated way.

“It’s important for agencies to work together. Today really showed that had there been anything more serious, we work well together. The right resources were available. Happy days, it wasn’t actually needed, which is good,” said a relieved Inspector Marks.

Images: Northern Beaches Advocate, Fire and Rescue NSW

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