Sky News and IANS are reporting that a backpacker has fallen to his death from the helicopter that was about to transport him, as the crew tried to rescue him.
We do not have very much information regarding the accident at this time. What we know is that the man was apparently being airlifted following an injury to his ankle while walking near Mansfield, a town located within the foothills of the Victorian section of the Australian Alps.
According to a spokesperson for the ambulance, the accident occurred while the team was attempting to get the patient into the aircraft. Sky News reported that the man fell 100 feet.
The following quotes are taken from the IANS report:
“I understand he was at the door of the helicopter and they were attempting to get him into the helicopter when it happened,” said the chief executive of the air ambulance company. “The flight crew and the paramedic winched back down to the scene to attempt to resuscitate the patient but unfortunately he was beyond help.”
He added that the winch equipment used during the accident was of a very high standard. The air ambulance company suspended all winching operations following the incident.
The following quotes came from a Sky News article:
“We have a very good record here in Victoria but that’s because we do learn and understand what goes wrong when it goes this wrong and we’ll do the same in this instance.
“This is devastating for the crew. They spend their whole lives putting themselves at risk for patients and in this instance something’s gone astray.”
“What happened here today we just need to try and understand,” he said, adding his thoughts were with the family of the man involved.”
Photo: Graeme Bartlett, CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons