On Wednesday 22nd July 2020, two separate bushwalkers called for assistance in the north of the state.
At approximately 5.15pm Wednesday 22nd July 2020 a Victorian male walker, who has been in Tasmania for the last 4 months, contacted Tasmania Police as he had become separated from his friend and was unable to locate the track he was walking on. The man had been walking to the summit of Mount Victoria, located on the North East of Tasmania.
Due to low telephone battery, the man’s phone went flat, and police were unable to actively communicate with him.
The Police, SES Search and Rescue along with the Westpac rescue helicopter all joined the Mount Victoria track to assist in the location of both walkers. The man’s friend was located first, and then later in the evening the bushwalker who had originally put the call in was located by the Westpac rescue Helicopter at around 10pm. The man was winched safely aboard the helicopter and was then reunited with his friend without further incident.
In Addition to this incident, at approximately 5.30pm Wednesday 22nd July 2020, the Australian Maritime and Safety Authority (AMSA) in Canberra alerted Tasmania Police of an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) activation in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park.
The EPIRB was registered to a 39-year-old female walker from Turners Beach. Tasmania Police were also contacted shortly after by a Next of Kin for the walker who reported the 39-year-old as being late.
The Westpac rescue helicopter was deployed and was able to locate as well as winch the walker on board without any incident.
According to the media release issued by Tasmania Police, the cause of the EPIRB activation arose from the walker falling unwell and had lost the track in the dense bush.
The 39-year-old was well equipped and an experienced walker who had notified her Next of Kin of her expected return time and where she was intending to go.
By sharing these details and registering an EPIRB, it significantly assisted the police in being able to accurately locate and rescue the missing walker from her situation in a timely manner.
Bushwalkers are reminded by Senior Sergeant Justin Bidgood of the need to be well prepared and to be carrying adequate food, water and clothing for all weather conditions. Bushwalkers should also advise a trusted person of where they intend to walk and an expected return time. Whilst we can’t always rely on good mobile phone coverage, walkers should ensure their phone has adequate charge and where possible they carry an EPIRB or Personal Locator Beacon which has been registered with AMSA for use in emergency situations.