Praise for St John WA paramedics after hike goes south

Press Release

When keen outdoorswoman Debra Blaskett headed off for a morning hike last month, she had not expected her leisurely stroll through Kitty’s Gorge in Serpentine to turn into an hours-long rescue operation.

This is exactly what happened though, with St John WA crews called on to help treat Debra after she broke her ankle while hiking.

“I’m so forever grateful to [St John paramedics] Jan-Willem Weeda and Ben Throp,” Debra said.

“It was dark and it was rainy; the circumstances were so difficult.

“These guys were just top-class.

It was just before midday when Debra stepped over a fallen tree onto a gravel slope and rolled her right ankle.

She said she heard a loud “crack” and could no longer walk on her foot.

Luckily, Debra was hiking with a friend, who walked until she found phone coverage to raise the alarm.

A multi-agency effort involving St John, WA police, a park ranger and the SES then swung into action, with rescuers having to hike deep into the gorge to get to Debra.

Thanks to an afternoon storm leaving everyone involved in the rescue drenched, and steep climbs involving tricky manoeuvres with a patient on a stretcher, it took eight hours from when the alarm was first raised to getting Debra to hospital.

“It was just a little slip,” Debra said, “but it involved a major operation.

“I’ll be taking much more care, and will be taking my personal locator beacon with me on future hikes.”

Debra was reunited with her St John WA rescuers recently, with both paramedics receiving a commendation for their exceptional patient care.Download the First Responder app to help St John WA find you in an emergency.

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