Paramedic recognised for rescue effort

Fellow Bombala Paramedic, Katherine Allen and Inspector Bob Whitney congratulated Paramedic Nathan Roberts on receiving a Certificate of Recognition last Thursday for his vital logistics role in a fatal accident near Pericoe in 2007.
Fellow Bombala Paramedic, Katherine Allen and Inspector Bob Whitney congratulated Paramedic Nathan Roberts on receiving a Certificate of Recognition last Thursday for his vital logistics role in a fatal accident near Pericoe in 2007.

THE Bombala district can rest easy in the knowledge that it is in the best of hands in the case of a medical emergency, with the work of one of our local Ambulance Paramedics being recognised last week.

Nathan Roberts was presented with a Certificate of Recognition from the Ambulance Service NSW last Thursday for his role in a huge rescue operation following a serious accident near Pericoe in 2007.

Inspector Bob Whitney came to Bombala to present Nathan with his certificate, saying that he was proud that both Nathan and fellow paramedic, Matthew Donaldson were being recognised for their efforts.

He explained that the accident took place in extremely difficult terrain at night, with two vehicles having rolled multiple times down an 80 metre embankment that had slipped away from the road.

What resulted was a large multiagency response, with crews from Bombala, Merimbula, Bega and Eden being involved, and other agencies such as the SES and helicopter rescue all being required.

The Bombala paramedics were the second to arrive on the scene, and with the first crew already down the embankment working with patients, Nathan and Matt became responsible for the logistics of the operation.

Due to the huge resources needed - similar to those of a bus or train accident - it was up to the Bombala paramedics to assess the situation and instigate the major incident plan, known as AMBplan.

This meant that Nathan and Matt were responsible for bringing in all crews, equipment and resources, with the entire operation relying on their communications.

Nathan himself explained that a major difficulty was the narrow single lane track that led into the location of the accident, with the pair having to ensure resources arrived in the right order of priority.

Then of course there was the huge 80 metre vertical drop to contend with, with Inspector Whitney saying the difficulty of the terrain could not be overstated.

Thanks to the logistical work of the Bombala paramedics, however, all the resources needed were brought in, and the rescue helicopter was activated.

Although one driver died on impact, Nathan and Matt were able to arrange the safe extrication and transport of the remaining patients who required further medical treatment.

While Nathan was very humble in accepting his Certificate of Recognition last week, Inspector Whitney said that the effort shouldn’t be down played.

“The fact that they did such a great job and instigated the AMBplan so capably is a credit to them,” he said.

“It was a good outcome because of the work of these two paramedics, and as always I am proud to be their Inspector.”

An overwhelmed Nathan said that while he certainly wasn’t in the job for the glory, he appreciated the recognition, and felt the operation was a great example of team work from all agencies involved.

While Matt is now based in Victoria, he too was set to be presented with his Certificate of Recognition last week, with the awards a part of the ‘Thank a Paramedic Day’ initiative.