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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Conservationist dies of thirst in Outback


Ethabuka Station is a property covering 200,000 hectares in south-west Qld. (ABC News: Mick Fanning)

Bedourie, Qld map

One man is dead and another is recovering in hospital after their four-wheel-drive broke down near the Simpson Desert in south-western Queensland. Police say two men left Ethabuka Station on Monday morning in a four-wheel-drive and got bogged about 16 kilometres from the house.The two men were working on a bore near the station. Ethabuka Station is a property that covers 200,000 hectares (1,000 square miles) in the north-east corner of the Simpson Desert, near Bedourie.After several failed attempts to free the vehicle, the pair decided to walk back. Police say they tried to walk back and did not have enough water in temperatures that reached 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees farenheit). Mauritz Pieterse, 25, collapsed along the way, with his 30-year-old colleague barely making it back, suffering from extreme dehydration and heat exhaustion.Police say Mr Pieterse's body was found several kilometres from the station. The man who survived the ordeal is recovering in hospital.Ethabuka Station is owned by conservation group Bush Heritage Australia (BHA). Station spokesman David Whitelaw says authorities are still trying to work out what happened. He says Mr Pieterse had been working on the reserve for a year."It is something that we treat very seriously - safety is of significant importance," he said. "The incident itself is subject to a police investigation, so that information is still being worked through. Our staff are trained and are provided the necessary equipment to operate out in the field."Mr Whitelaw says BHA are offering support to Mr Pieterse's family and staff."We are grieving at the moment and our support and deep sympathy has gone out to the family," he said. "It is a terribly tragic event and it is sad time for everyone that knew [him]. We yesterday offered our sympathy to [his] family and ongoing support."Police Inspector Paul Biggin says a report will be prepared for the coroner. He says the tragedy highlights the need to travel in remote areas with enough water and proper communication."Police have been in contact with the Work Place Health and Safety managers who look at incidents and deaths on property, so that will certainly be looked at," he said. "From it it would appear on the circumstances there have been a number of mistakes made and as I said unfortunately one young man has lost his life. "Obviously with the temperatures that Mount Isa and our district has had, certainly a warning that if you are out and about - regardless of whether you are working or travelling - make sure you stock up on plenty of water and have communications. Everyone is susceptible to those high range temperatures that we have in summer."


6 comments:

Gill - That British Woman said...

"Police Inspector Paul Biggin says a report will be prepared for the coroner. He says the tragedy highlights the need to travel in remote areas with enough water and proper communication."

That says it all...

JohnD said...

".... Bush Heritage Australia .... (says) ... Our staff are trained and are provided the necessary equipment to operate out in the field."Mr Whitelaw says. ..."

it would appear, that whilst 'trained', their staff were not compliant with their training requirements! It's no different to Planning to put a bushfire evacuation plan in place - that's the same as having no plan in place!

The Australian bush is deadly and unforgiving!

The Elephant's Child said...

'deadly and unforgiving' and rarely offers second chances.

John Gray said...

nature .... tooth and claw......
the phrase comes to mind..... sobering eh?

JohnD said...

The cost of pissing on the thought of proper risk management is high, JohnG! Occupational safety may be bothersome but it is not a joke!

Maa said...

All sounds a tad suspicious.Maa