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Man impaled on tree in abseiling mishap

12:17:07 AM

Saturday Nov 10 20:07 AEDT
A man is lucky to be alive after he was impaled on a tree branch while abseiling down a steep cliff face on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.
The 27-year-old man from Toowoomba was abseiling rapidly down a 100 metre cliff face at Mount Tinbeerwah, near Noosa, when the accident occurred just before 1pm (AEST) on Saturday.
He is recovering in Nambour Hospital with serious injuries after a tricky hour-long rescue operation to extricate him from the rocky and dense bush terrain.
Energex Rescue Helicopter intensive care paramedic Jeff Bradfield said it was one of the most difficult rescue operations he had performed in more than 16 years as a paramedic.
"He descended really quickly and on his way down had a tree branch basically impale him," Mr Bradfield said.
"It entered (from behind his back) and cut him out just below his belly button.
"We had to use bolt cutters to actually cut the part of the tree branch away so that we could fit him into the winch stretcher and then winch him out into the rescue helicopter and fly him to hospital."
Mr Bradfield said the climber was lucky to be alive.
"From talking to one of the emergency physicians at Nambour Hospital, they said initially it looks as though it has missed most of the vital organs in his lower abdomen," Mr Bradfield said.
"He is extremely lucky.
"It was one of the most interesting cases I have done in 16.5 years and even on the helicopter it is quite a unique case. This is literally a one-in-a-million chance of happening."
A friend of the abseiler, Dave Beasley, said he had followed the rescue closely.
"We were on speaker phone, we could hear everything he was saying," Mr Beasley told the Nine Network.
"I was actually in the process of telling some people at the top how safe abseiling is when it happened."

Phil Box
9:48:43 PM
The stick entered behind the scrotum and just in front of the anus, missing all vital organs and also missing any major blood vessels. The fact that the stick had lodged in place ensured that blood loss was virtually nill.

The word is that he lost control and plummeted about 46 metres before impaling himself on the limb. The stick exited near the navel. I agree, very lucky.

Funnily enough I am doing an outdoor ed camp where I am looking after the abseiling and climbing up at Tinbeerwah where this accident occured.

I do wish him all the best and hope he makes a full recovery.
11:11:49 PM
>"I was actually in the process of telling some people at the top how safe
>abseiling is when it happened."

Abseiling is as safe as you make it. Perhaps this incident is (another) good advertisement for using a reliable self-belay method.
[Of course, we (or at least I) don't really know what happened up there.]

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