30 November 2020

Seventeen bushwalkers rescued from Bungonia National Park

| Hannah Sparks
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A ranger on the Red Track in Bungonia National Park

A ranger on the Red Track in Bungonia National Park. Photo: Audrey Kutzner.

What began as a rescue mission to retrieve a fallen bushwalker on Saturday afternoon ended up as a major operation to safely return at least 17 bushwalkers who had run out of water and supplies as the temperature reached 35 degrees in Bungonia National Park.

The 32-year-old woman, about whom emergency services had first received a call for, had fallen while walking the Red Track and was thought to have suffered spinal injuries.

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A doctor who was also bushwalking in the area treated the woman before police arrived.

Due to high winds, the woman was carried by two senior constables from where she had fallen before being airlifted to Canberra Base Hospital in a stable condition.

Bungonia National Park on the map

Bungonia National Park is located east of Goulburn. Photo: Google Maps.

However, after working in the heat for several hours, the two constables began to suffer from heat exhaustion. Then, while returning to the park entrance, they came across two female bushwalkers who were also suffering from heat exhaustion.

The two women were treated before being guided out of the park while the two senior constables were taken to Goulburn Base Hospital where they were treated for dehydration.

In total, Bungonia Rural Fire Brigade reported helping 17 people – including paramedics – who had run out of water and supplies and needed help back to the top car park. The bushwalkers were met by an ambulance and treated.

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The fire brigade had arrived to help with the rescue mission at 3:00 pm and ended up leaving the park at midnight.

Police have since issued a reminded to bushwalkers to be well-prepared, particularly as temperatures remain around 30 degrees during early summer.

Their advice is to:

  • Pack adequate supplies of food and water, as well as navigation and first aid equipment.
  • Register your planned route and aim to stick to that.
  • Follow the map and walking trails.
  • Tell friends and family when you expect to return.
  • Carry an emergency beacon.

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