Perth hiker ‘in awe’ of volunteers after gruelling eight-hour rescue on Albany’s Bald Head Walk Trail

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SES volunteers carrying Suzie Haworth along the Bald Head Walk Trail.
Camera IconSES volunteers carrying Suzie Haworth along the Bald Head Walk Trail.

A Perth woman who was rescued from the Bald Head walk trail says she is “in awe” of the volunteers who gave up their Saturday to carry her back to safety.

Suzie Haworth, 42, was in Albany for a getaway with two friends when she fell and rolled her ankle on a steep section of the Flinders Peninsula in Torndirrup National Park.

Her injury, though far from life-threatening, left her stranded about 4.7km along the trail, with the temperature set to climb well above 30C.

Another group of hikers called St John Ambulance for help, and by noon a paramedic and volunteer ambulance officer had reached her.

Albany paramedic Edwin McLean requested an RAC rescue helicopter to airlift the woman, but he was told the helicopters were busy with other jobs — so they treated the woman’s ankle and started helping her back along the trail.

Ms Haworth says she is ‘in awe’ of the rescuers who carried her back to safety.
Camera IconMs Haworth says she is ‘in awe’ of the rescuers who carried her back to safety. Credit: Supplied

“They were absolutely amazing,” Ms Haworth said.

“Just their manner and their banter — it was so light and easy but they had it under control. They knew what they were doing.”

Before long, a team of State Emergency Service volunteers from Albany and Mt Barker, along with volunteer firefighters from Kalgan Volunteer Bushfire Brigade, had joined them.

The Bald Head Walk Trail has a return length of about 12.5km and is rated grade four by Trails WA, requiring hiking experience and a high level of fitness.

Over eight gruelling hours, Ms Haworth was taken off the trail with the help of a stretcher and a “mule” wheel unit.

“They all came in and fell under one level of command. I work in the corporate environment and you just don’t see that,” Ms Haworth said.

The Bald Head Walk Trail is one of the toughest hikes around Albany.
Camera IconThe Bald Head Walk Trail is one of the toughest hikes around Albany. Credit: Supplied/Supplied

“I was just amazed at how they all worked together. They are so professional but they’re giving their time up.

“I’m sure they had better things to do on a Saturday than help some wally get out of Bald Head.”

Ms Haworth reached out to the Advertiser to express her gratitude to her rescuers and to encourage people to support them wherever possible.

She backed calls from some of her rescuers for more helicopters to help with emergencies across WA.

“I’m sure there are businesses that support these organisations and I’d just encourage the community to continue to support them because what they do is amazing,” she said.

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