Patient most grateful for cliff rescue at Stokes Bay, Kangaroo Island

CLIFF RESCUE: Members of the Kangaroo Island emergency services including Ambulance paramedics, SES and CFS volunteers prepare to take injured patient Jane Fletcher up the cliff at Stokes Bay beach. Photo Jan Sundberg

CLIFF RESCUE: Members of the Kangaroo Island emergency services including Ambulance paramedics, SES and CFS volunteers prepare to take injured patient Jane Fletcher up the cliff at Stokes Bay beach. Photo Jan Sundberg

Visitor Jane Fletcher is most grateful to the Kangaroo Island emergency services for rescuing her from Stokes Bay beach after she fractured her knee cap.

Ms Fletcher, 66, from Adelaide was on the far end of the KI north coast beach on Sunday, October 18 when she tripped on rocks.

Ambulance paramedics were the first to arrive and it was decided to call in the SES vertical rescue team to take her up the cliffs rather than trying to negotiate the narrow rock tunnel off the beach.

SES training officer David Rhodes said the most suitable section of the cliffs half way along the beach was selected as the haul-up point.

Also attending were CFS volunteers from Stokes Bay and Parndana, including Frank May, who has also received vertical rescue training with the CFS.

EXTRICATION POINT: This section of cliff was selected carefully as the best spot to haul up the patient from Stokes Bay beach. Photo David Rhodes

EXTRICATION POINT: This section of cliff was selected carefully as the best spot to haul up the patient from Stokes Bay beach. Photo David Rhodes

Half the team set up the 4-in-1 haul line at the top of the cliff, while the others loaded Ms Fletcher onto the appropriately named Stokes litter or special rescue stretcher.

She was then hauled up the cliff, steadied by the rescuers, loaded onto the back of a farm utility and taken to the parking lot at the entrance to the beach where she was loaded into the ambulance.

"She was an excellent patient and remained calm all the time," Mr Rhodes said.

She spent the night at the Kangaroo Island Hospital at Kingscote before being transported to Adelaide by the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

She also praised the medical staff at the KI Hospital, who she said were wonderful with their care.

Ms Fletcher meanwhile is recovering at home after surgery on her fractured patella at Flinders Medical Centre.

She sang the praises of the SES and CFS volunteers and Ambulance paramedics that came to her rescue.

"At no time did I feel anxious or panicky because I had full confidence in their abilities," she said. "It was an incredible experience, an extraordinary experience and something that I will never forget."

Mr Rhodes said it was a great example of all the emergency services working together in a very professional manner.

Ms Fletcher said she had a beautiful holiday and the accident happened only the day before she was set to return home.

Despite the accident she is keen to return for another holiday.

The KI SES unit is currently doing a membership drive, looking for new members and Ms Fletcher encouraged the locals to think about joining as the volunteers obviously receive excellent training.

"From my perspective, the technical expertise and leadership displayed by the rescue team was so impressive," she said.

TRAINING: Kangaroo Island ambulance paramedics and SES volunteers conduct a cliff rescue exercise at Cape Willoughby a few years ago. File photo

TRAINING: Kangaroo Island ambulance paramedics and SES volunteers conduct a cliff rescue exercise at Cape Willoughby a few years ago. File photo

Mr Rhodes said the good news was that four new recruits had started attending training sessions in recent weeks.

The SES units conducts regular vertical rescue training at its base and locations around the Island, including the Kingscote silos and actual cliffs.

Anyone interested in joining can attend one of the meetings at 7.30pm on Thursday nights at the base on Acacia Street, behind Island Beehive.

This story Patient most grateful for cliff rescue at Stokes Bay first appeared on The Islander.

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