ACT News


Day's skiing ends with helicopter rescue

The Snowy Hydro SouthCare helicopter rescued a man near Mount Kosciuszko on Sunday afternoon after his partner of 23 years skied two kilometres for help.

Bruce Wharrie and Marg Hayes, of Jindabyne, ski every weekend during winter and are ski instructors. The pair were about 1.5 kilometres south of Mount Kosciuszko about 2.30pm and Mr Wharrie was skiing around some turns when he fell forward onto his face, breaking his leg.

Ms Hayes, a teacher, said it was frightening to see him take the tumble. ''I was actually behind him, so I saw it all happen and he sort of screamed out because he was in pain, and I had to get my skis off first before I could help him,'' she said.

Ms Hayes, knowing Mr Wharrie would need to be rescued, made him as comfortable as she could then skied for about half an hour to find a high spot, where she found mobile phone reception and called emergency services.

Mr Wharrie, a town planner, used a pen to record on his hand everything that happened between the time of the accident and when he arrived at Canberra Hospital, creating a timeline of the day's events.

''We're both cross-country ski instructors, and we also run cross-country ski tours, and so it's very handy to continually be exposed to and review the time it takes for these rescue operations,'' he said. While he was waiting he also jotted down a reminder to pick up a ticket in today's lottery.


Ms Hayes said they had packed lights, fluoro vests and extra gloves and jumpers in case an emergency meant they had to spend the night on the mountain, and the fluoro vests had helped the helicopter pilot spot them.

''We would have been warm enough if we had to spend the night, but I'm glad they came, that was pretty good,'' she said.

They had ridden their bicycles to Rawsons Pass, and after the helicopter picked up Mr Wharrie, Ms Hayes pushed them eight kilometres in the dark to their car.

Mr Wharrie said he hoped to be out of hospital today after doctors operated on his leg. ''I'm comfortable, the leg is a little painful,'' he said.