Quick Response by IFS Saves Lives at Arthurs LakeWaters of Arthurs Lake, like many highland waters, can be treacherous at times
The Inland Fisheries Service helped Tasmania Police in the rescue of a Tasmanian couple whose dinghy had capsized whilst fishing at Arthurs Lake last Thursday 26 April. IFS staff stationed at Lake Crescent were able to respond quickly to the emergency, joining the Police search using an IFS boat fully equipped with search and rescue equipment. They successfully located the couple on Brazendale Island, Arthurs Lake at around 11.30 pm and averted the life threatening situation.
The IFS Field Officer stationed at Liawenee in the Central Highlands often works closely with the local Tasmania Police Officer, and vice versa. For instance, the two cautioned the couple during the summer fishing season for not wearing life jackets whilst boating. The IFS and Tasmania Police often conduct joint operations and provide support, surveillance and emergency response in remote areas such as the highlands. In the case of last week’s emergency, the IFS inspector at Liawenee who was on leave at the time passed on the request to his manager.
Two IFS staff who were stationed at Lake Crescent working on the Carp Program, were immediately asked to assist in the search and rescue operation. After receiving the call, Rob Keeley and Brock Cuthbertson who are used to operating on the highland lakes in difficult conditions, quickly prepared for the search and rescue operation. They had joined with Tasmania Police on the water at Arthurs Lake by 9.30 pm and were directed to search an area of the Lake near Brazendale Island.
Two hours later, the IFS pair spot-lighted the reflective panels on a jacket which had been hung in a tree as a signal by the missing couple. They motored towards the island and heard a whistle; and upon nearing the shore, spotted the upturned dinghy. They came ashore and located the couple who were desperately trying to keep warm, sheltering in bush about 50 m in-shore.
The couple had swum ashore after their dinghy over-turned in rough conditions around midday and by the time they were rescued the threat of hypothermia was severe. The maximum temperature recorded that day was 10.9 degrees Celsius and overnight, 2.8 degrees, and with a cold SW wind of up to 48 kmph, the cold conditions would have been extreme.
The IFS staff immediately treated the grateful couple for hypothermia using thermal blankets and rushed them by boat to the paramedic crew waiting at the boat ramp just after midnight. The couple described their rescuers as a godsend, a sentiment that was reinforced by the Tasmania Police officer in charge who thanked IFS for its valuable support.