Albany SES recognised for challenging cliff recovery operation after ‘unprecedented’ start to 2022

Headshot of Cameron Newbold
Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
SES vertical rescue team leader Gary Logan with Senior Sergeant Hugh Letessier.
Camera IconSES vertical rescue team leader Gary Logan with Senior Sergeant Hugh Letessier. Credit: Cameron Newbold/Albany Advertiser

Albany’s State Emergency Service volunteers have been honoured for their recovery of a man’s body from a dangerous coastal cliff at West Cape Howe earlier this month.

The Great Southern Police District on behalf of the WA Police Force presented the Albany SES vertical rescue team with a certificate of outstanding performance on Monday night.

The certificate acknowledged the dangerous and technical retrieval of the body of Perth man Tom Wiltshire who died in a rock climbing accident on January 4.

Mr Wiltshire was killed while scaling a 40m cliff face in a remote area of West Cape Howe National Park. Emergency services and SES were deployed late that afternoon but fading light and poor weather conditions hampered their efforts.

The SES vertical rescue team returned the next morning to retrieve Mr Wiltshire’s body.

Acting Inspector Senior Sergeant Hugh Letessier presented the certificate to the head of the Albany vertical rescue team, Gary Logan.

He said the recognition went beyond the challenging recovery operation at West Cape Howe.

Speaking at the current base on Sandford Road, Acting Insp. Letessier praised the volunteers after a hectic start to 2022.

Local SES members were called out to six major incidents in the first nine days of the year — two hiker rescues, two land searches, the West Cape Howe vertical recovery and a bushfire on Mt Clarence.

Acting Insp. Letessier said their training and commitment made a big impact on search and rescue operations in the difficult terrain of the Great Southern.

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