Five-hour rescue effort after 8yo boy falls 200m

AN EIGHT-year-old boy was lucky to survive a fall down a 200m slope at Dangars Falls, near Armidale, at the weekend.

NSW Ambulance duty operations manager Inspector Neale Waters said the boy was camping in the area with his family when he went to the viewing platform about 4.45pm on Saturday.

Inspector Waters said it was believed the boy climbed through the cordoned-off area to retrieve a personal item when he slipped.

“He came to rest about 200 metres from the viewing platform,” he said.

“What’s stopped him from falling to the bottom, I don’t know. It’s about a 300m drop, so there was another 100m to go.”

NSW Ambulance paramedic Niall Webb was one of the first rescuers on the scene.

“It’s not a sheer drop, but you couldn’t walk straight down to where he fell. You had to walk backwards and forwards across the gorge to get to him,” he said.

Inspector Waters said Mr Webb took basic equipment with him, pain relief, a first aid kit and splint because they were told the boy had a fractured femur.

“SES volunteers arrived and put ropes down to the patient, so that when the time came for people to get out, they had something to hang on to, to guide them,” he said.

A rescue helicopter was tasked and the patient, Mr Webb and a NSW Ambulance doctor were winched out, with the assistance of a special casualty access team paramedic, five hours after the alarm was first raised.

“He had a talk to mum and dad,” Inspector Waters said.

“There were civilians down there who had a CB radio, which helped us a lot. We had no communication – no portable radio or mobile phones would work. He told his father, ‘Dad, I’m going on a helicopter ride’.

“It was a combined operation between our fellows, the SES and the Lifesaver helicopter team. All knew what their jobs were and everything ran smoothly.”

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