A series of terrible tragedies in the past week or so have once again served as an awful reminder that there are real dangers to bushwalking … especially in severe weather conditions.
After a period of torrential rain in the NSW Blue Mountains, two members of the same family were killed in a landslide. And, on a searingly hot day in the NT, a 22-year-old man collapsed and died on the Larapinta Trail.
And just this last weekend, a 60-year-old bushwalker who became ill had to be rescued by helicopter after activating an emergency locator beacon while hiking the NT’s Larapinta Trail.
Then, of course, there are also people who regularly get lost while hiking in remote areas, sometimes with fatal consequences.
Emergency services have seized the opportunity to urge grey nomads and all others who like to go bushwalking to take sensible precautions.
Bushwalking groups say it is important for people to ensure they are prepared for the conditions.
They should always: check for alerts and safety information online before leaving; check the weather forecast and be prepared for the conditions; give themselves plenty of time to finish their walk; bring plenty of food and water; take a first-aid kit as well as a map as phones can’t always be relied on for navigation in remote areas.
Paul Hinchcliffe of the Tamborine Mountain SES in Queensland, said it also made sense to:
“Don’t keep walking around in circles, because the sooner we can get to you the better,” said Mr Hinchcliffe. “If you’ve got a GPS location, please don’t move from it. Stay where you are and we’ll come to you.”
And, of course, bushwalkers should also be forever on alert for changing conditions and be aware of potential risks, whether it be from falling branches, rockslides, or just worsening weather.
To some extent, it is about using common sense.
Research shows most hiking injuries or deaths occur when people stray from tracks, climb over fences, or sit on cliffs.