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Canyoning Accident in OZ

Discussion in 'Accidents and Near Misses' started by Ram, Nov 26, 2019.

  1. Ram


    Copied and pasted. Be careful out there!!!

    Kanangra accident account from the patient. Thank you Gabby for sharing his story.

    Accident at Kanangra Main Canyon on 23/11/19:
    On Saturday, 23 November 2019 I was in a group of 3 setting off to do Kanangra Main via the main face. We set off from the carpark at around 9ish.
    The group was comprised of myself and 2 girls. Of the 3, I was the most experienced.
    We took 2 x 70m ropes with us.
    The first abseil is about 55m and you land on a small ledge.
    I joined our 2 ropes and abseiled down first, followed by the 2 girls.
    Once all 3 of us were down, one of the girls commenced the pull down. The first rope pulled down successfully and the end of the second rope came out of the anchor and over the edge. However, as it was falling, it got stuck on a small 40cm ledge above us, that has a rock you could abseil off. (see photo)
    At this point we tried to whisk and pull the rope free for a while, then I connected my harness to it and sat/jumped on it for about 15 minutes. By this time I was convinced the rope was very stuck and it would be safe to climb it to release it.
    I used a GriGri and prussik cord to ascend the rope. I had one of the girls belay me using an ATC.
    I was about 10 metres up the climb when the rope became unstuck and I fell. I hit a tree as I was falling and landed on the ledge, although very close to the edge of it! This was at about 10.30am.
    I had fractured 8 ribs, fractured my left foot and my left leg, as well as punctured my lung. Of course I did not know this at this stage.
    I was initially in shock and it took me a few seconds (maybe minutes?) to let out a loud scream when the pain hit me!
    The girls quickly yelled for help and started to remove my pants, shoes and socks to see my injuries. They pressed the epirb at around 10.45am.
    As if that wasn't enough I was stung by a wasp. I have previously been stung by a wasp, and although I had a bad reaction (in terms of bigger than normal swelling of the area), it was not that bad, so I had not seen a doctor to be diagnosed or needed an epipen.
    However, the ledge was covered in ants that began biting us. The wasp sting and possibly also ant bites caused me to suffer from anaphylactic shock. I was having difficulty breathing so I went into survival mode and all my concentration went into my breathing. I knew I had to breathe until the paramedics arrived. My face and neck started swelling because of the allergic reaction which made it even more difficult to breath. I had to sit upright to fill my lungs with oxygen. I knew freaking out would not help so I stayed calm and focused on my breathing, to prevent the asthamatic attack I was suffering from the wasp from killing me.
    I knew the epirb had been set off and that the girls had communicated with another group of canyoners on the top so I was certain help was on its way.
    Of course I do not know how long (it seemed like forever) but finally we saw the helicopter. We flashed it with a mirror (which they later said made it easier to locate us).
    At around 1.45pm the paramedic reached me, and I was given adrenaline which made me feel better almost immediately. They also had to insert a needle into my lung to let the air out.
    I was lifted to the top of the first abseil in a stretcher via a haul system. It was dark by the time we reached the top and the helicopter was unable to return so we had to spend the night there. I was then lifted another 15 metres or so to the top of the Falls for the night.
    The next morning, at 6am I was carried out on a stretcher by Police Rescue Personnel. An extra 20 SES workers also came to assist. It took about 4.5 hours and we were at the van at 10.40am. I was driven to Oberon football stadium where I was airlifted to Westmead Hospital. I have undergone an operation to my leg.

    My thanks: to the Paramedics, doctor, Police Rescue, SES and everyone that assisted in the rescue!
    My reflections:
    Take 3 ropes at least (there were only 3 of us so each could have carried a rope);
    The rope fell on a ledge. I think the pull down should be quick as the rope is coming over the edge to avoid the rope landing on ledges and getting stuck (as it did in our case);
    Have whistles or walkie talkies for communication;
    The emergency beacon (epirb) was a life-safer! Definitely recommended.
    Jenny and ratagonia like this.
  2. Canyonero


    Holy crap! That's a heck of a story. A traumatic and a medical emergency.

    Climbing a possibly not very well stuck rope is obviously an error, but if it's all you've got...
  3. Fat Canyoner

    Fat Canyoner T2

    Just note, the person who shated this account on Facebook has now deleted it. There are some sensitivities involved, and some things that aren't spot on. Hopefully a more detailed, accurate version wiill be forthcoming once the injured man is out of hospital.
  4. yetigonecrazy1


    Gunnison, CO
    I have a buddy who guided in the Blue Mtns for 20 years and has so many carnage tales from this canyon. Thankfully no loss of life in this story.
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