A Workcover investigation is underway after a Rural Fire Service volunteer fell five metres down a cliff during a hazard reduction operation in Leura last week.
The RFS volunteer was flown to Westmead Hospital after falling at Prince Henry Cliff Walk in Leura on Wednesday, October 24 at 8.45pm.
“An ambulance helicopter landed at Peter Carroll Park at Leura but due to concerns the down draft would cause the fire to reignite it was unable to to rescue the firefighter,” police said in a statement.
Police Rescue officers and paramedics were forced to carry the firefighter by stretcher for 45 minutes after walking to the scene. He was then taken by ambulance before being flown to Westmead Hospital.
Blue Mountains RFS Superintendent David Jones said the injured volunteer, from Medlow Bath brigade, was recovering “really well” and was “at home under continued medical care”.
“It was a tragic accident. He sustained some fractured vertebrae and a fractured sternum, but he is at home, he’s got full movement and they didn’t have to operate,” Supt Jones said.
Meanwhile more than 200 firefighters were involved in other hazard reduction operations over the weekend. It was third time’s the charm for the Winmalee Rural Fire Brigade who managed to finish important fire hazard reduction around St Columba’s and Shelton Avenue in Winmalee after it was cancelled on two earlier occasions.
Winmalee captain Anthony Black, who had famously publicly complained when the 82 hectares of hazard works were called off, said it was a “huge effort by the RFS in the Mountains” to complete the work on Saturday and Sunday.
“The fire behaviour on Saturday was pretty intense, we had to be extremely careful,” he said.
More than 130 emergency services workers (mainly firefighters and police) were involved in the Winmalee burn with RFS members coming from Sutherland, Lithgow, Cumberland, Illawarra and Wollondilly to assist.
Two helicopters from Bankstown also assisted with the burn and helped out with other hazard reduction that went ahead in Faulconbridge and Shipley. Depending on the wind, a burn is planned in Lawson this weekend.