Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Tasmania specific bushwalking discussion.
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Re: Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Postby north-north-west » Tue 16 Jul, 2019 6:17 pm

tastrax wrote:If he thought he was in no danger and had supplies I cant see why he would trigger his PLB. I would like to know more about the details he left with his "responsible person".


He was on a daywalk from his basecamp and got separated from his daypack at Coal Hill. Spent a night in the open and then made it back to the camp next day. So at that point he no longer had his PLB.
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Re: Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Postby north-north-west » Tue 16 Jul, 2019 6:52 pm

The media release from TasPol:

57 year old Victorian bushwalker Michael Bowman has this afternoon been found safe and well within the designated search area by a search and rescue crew on the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

Mr Bowman was located at his campsite on Mt Cuvier just before 4pm today after spending approximately ten days in his tent, separated from the rest of his belongings.

Mr Bowman set up camp at Mt Cuvier and went on a short day walk to Coal Hill where he placed his pack down and then became separated from it when heavy fog descended on the area. He was then unable to locate his pack and spent a night in the cold at Coal Hill until the next day when he followed his footprints back to his tent and stayed there for approximately nine or ten days until he was rescued.

“Mr Bowman’s survival is a reflection of his level of skill and experience in the wilderness. He did all the right things in order to survive in the conditions he found himself in,” said Search Controller Senior Constable Kristy Eyles.

“He took his pack and his EPIRB with him on his day walk, he left a small amount of food with his tent and when he became stranded he made his way back to his tent to await rescue.

“For anyone with less experience this could have been a very different result. Thankfully, he was in good health when he was rescued,” she said.

Mr Bowman was transported to Hobart by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and has been taken to the Royal Hobart Hospital for a health check.

Tasmania Police would like to thank the many people who assisted in the search including State Emergency Service, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and Ambulance Tasmania.

Tasmania Police reminds people entering an area affected by snow and alpine weather conditions to be prepared and properly equipped.

Tasmanian alpine conditions can be dangerous and unpredictable.

If you’re planning to enter an alpine area you should:

be an experienced bushwalker,
have the right equipment,
know the weather forecast,
let someone know where you’re going and when you plan to return.
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Re: Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Postby crollsurf » Wed 17 Jul, 2019 8:13 am

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Re: Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Postby stepbystep » Wed 17 Jul, 2019 3:39 pm

Our mate Michael’s timeline....
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[MR] Michael Bowman timeline [17 July 2019].pdf
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Re: Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Postby Paul » Wed 17 Jul, 2019 6:15 pm

That photo looks very very much like the one of a rescue at Kia Ora Hut a couple of years ago. Maybe ?

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Re: Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Postby wildwanderer » Wed 17 Jul, 2019 6:48 pm

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Re: Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Postby andrewa » Wed 17 Jul, 2019 6:59 pm

Surprised that rescuers wouldn’t have snow shoes ( for that amount of snow)...

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Re: Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Postby geoskid » Wed 17 Jul, 2019 8:09 pm

north-north-west wrote:The media release from TasPol:

57 year old Victorian bushwalker Michael Bowman has this afternoon been found safe and well within the designated search area by a search and rescue crew on the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

Mr Bowman was located at his campsite on Mt Cuvier just before 4pm today after spending approximately ten days in his tent, separated from the rest of his belongings.

Mr Bowman set up camp at Mt Cuvier and went on a short day walk to Coal Hill where he placed his pack down and then became separated from it when heavy fog descended on the area. He was then unable to locate his pack and spent a night in the cold at Coal Hill until the next day when he followed his footprints back to his tent and stayed there for approximately nine or ten days until he was rescued.

“Mr Bowman’s survival is a reflection of his level of skill and experience in the wilderness. He did all the right things in order to survive in the conditions he found himself in,” said Search Controller Senior Constable Kristy Eyles.

“He took his pack and his EPIRB with him on his day walk, he left a small amount of food with his tent and when he became stranded he made his way back to his tent to await rescue.

“For anyone with less experience this could have been a very different result. Thankfully, he was in good health when he was rescued,” she said.

Mr Bowman was transported to Hobart by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and has been taken to the Royal Hobart Hospital for a health check.

Tasmania Police would like to thank the many people who assisted in the search including State Emergency Service, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and Ambulance Tasmania.

Tasmania Police reminds people entering an area affected by snow and alpine weather conditions to be prepared and properly equipped.

Tasmanian alpine conditions can be dangerous and unpredictable.

If you’re planning to enter an alpine area you should:

be an experienced bushwalker,
have the right equipment,
know the weather forecast,
let someone know where you’re going and when you plan to return.

I take issue with this Police report and the media reporting of the whole event - it's useless as a learning event. He messed up. So many un -answered questions. It's like an episode of Mr Bean and the Police say (and media reports) -“For anyone with less experience this could have been a very different result. Bollocks. He made his misfortune and that should be stepped through. If we don't tackle this type of fawning reporting, and lay out the mistakes he made, others may feel the need to curtail winter excursions for all of us. The question was raised this morning by Leon Compton at the end of his interview with Jeremy Rockliff. Your no shrinking violet and more experienced than me - you lead. :)
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Re: Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Postby andrewa » Wed 17 Jul, 2019 8:37 pm

Yes. I always wonder about the concept of “experienced”.

I’m glad there was a good outcome from this, but I am left wondering why you would ever leave your day pack somewhere, and then walk somewhere else without it?

I can understand leaving your rucksack somewhere, and going off on a brief trip ( eg to a summit or somewhere less than 20 -30 mins away), but I can’t understand why you would ever leave your day pack anywhere (presuming you have packed your absolute survival gear in your day pack). A daypack is meant to be attached to you ( or, at least, it is to me).

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Re: Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Postby Nuts » Wed 17 Jul, 2019 8:38 pm

andrewa wrote:Surprised that rescuers wouldn’t have snow shoes ( for that amount of snow)...

A


I think this would be the heli crew Andrew, to show the snow depth, unfortunate that's not mentioned anywhere.
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Re: Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Postby Warin » Wed 17 Jul, 2019 9:23 pm

andrewa wrote: I am left wondering why you would ever leave your day pack somewhere, and then walk somewhere else without it?


I don't see any mention of a 'day pack'. He may have only had one 'pack'. Saves a bit of weight, adds time to unpack it for side trips.

Why would you take most of the food on a short trip away from camp? Possibly he used his main and only pack without taking out all the food...
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Re: Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Postby Wollemi » Wed 17 Jul, 2019 9:40 pm

andrewa wrote:I can’t understand why you would ever leave your day pack anywhere (presuming you have packed your absolute survival gear in your day pack). A daypack is meant to be attached to you ( or, at least, it is to me).A


You probably do it more than you realise.
For example; Put down the pack to shake out sticks down your back, then notice interesting moss just over there that deserves a closer look, and I'll just step over to that rock now to relieve myself... (looking at photocopy of map now) wonder if I'm near the first false summit yet (start walking to slight clearing where pack is), only to see colourful pack over your left shoulder. Ah! - there it is, so you pick it up and carry on, and forget you had this rest when reflecting on your happy trip much later
It is this very scenario that, on reflection, has happened to me, on track and off it - and I reckon I have observed other people do it on every trip into any National Park I have been on. They are just moments that are seemingly inconsequential, often.
Last edited by Wollemi on Wed 17 Jul, 2019 10:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Postby Wollemi » Wed 17 Jul, 2019 9:58 pm

This incident was in mid-June.
Is anyone able to say why the kayaker, who appears to have been making a non-stop solo attempt to kayak direct from Tasmania's NW coast to The Prom or Gippsland, aborted ?
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Re: Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Postby beardless » Wed 17 Jul, 2019 10:07 pm

Wollemi wrote:
andrewa wrote:I can’t understand why you would ever leave your day pack anywhere (presuming you have packed your absolute survival gear in your day pack). A daypack is meant to be attached to you ( or, at least, it is to me).A


You probably do it more than you realise.
For example; Put down the pack to shake out sticks down your back, then notice interesting moss just over there that deserves a closer look, and I'll just step over to that rock now to relieve myself... (looking at photocopy of map now) wonder if I'm near the first false summit yet (start walking to slight clearing where pack is), only to see colourful pack over your left shoulder.
It is this very scenario that, on reflection, has happened to me, on track and off it - and I reckon I have observed other people do it on every trip into any National Park I have been on. They are just moments that are seemingly inconsequential, often.


Yes and those seemingly inconsequential moments can have more significance when we are are solo and in winter in wilderness and fog comes across quickly. I think it is useful to have these discussions so we can all learn.
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Re: Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Postby Son of a Beach » Thu 18 Jul, 2019 8:43 am

It would be interesting to know how far he walked from his pack.

But I have had times when I've stepped out of the tent to relieve myself during the night, and when I walked back to my tent it wasn't there! After the first of these incidents, I was a lot more careful about being able to retrace my steps, but it has still happened once or twice since.

(Yes, I did find the tent again without too much trouble, but it was a bit freaky for a few moments.)

I have walked at least one very long day walk, completely unplanned, without any pack at all (and without any shoes either), as I kept getting distracted by thoughts of "oh, I'll just go a bit further and see what's over there". On that occasion, the weather was perfect and it was summer, but perhaps a little fool-hardy. It just happens sub-conciously sometimes. I don't think I'd be likely to do that in winter, but I can't say for sure.

I agree that there are definitely some lessons to learn here, that have not been well articulated in the media, or by police or PWS. eg, DO NOT KEEP WALKING WITHOUT ANY GEAR. And be aware of how easy it is to do so subconciously.
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Re: Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Postby Nuts » Thu 18 Jul, 2019 10:25 am

Awww, look, they even rescued this dog:

Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 10.08.03 am.png
Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 10.08.03 am.png (697.65 KiB) Viewed 4149 times


Good to see rescue services get the occasional limelight.

As much as more details would be of benefit, I think the the walking community has already a great deal from this incident that they can apply to their processes. & Mr Bowman is now a great deal more experienced.

Some of the other happenings, needing to stop '1klm from Pelion Hut' I don't understand, the group setting out on Saturday (I kinda understand but) obviously wasn't a wize move.
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Re: Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Postby taswegian » Thu 18 Jul, 2019 10:47 am

DO NOT KEEP WALKING WITHOUT ANY GEAR.
That's easy to say, and rings true, but reality is one puts the pack down for many reasons.
Wollemi states the reality.

I can recall a trip up on Central plateau, fine weather, 4 of us,then suddenly fog hit us so thick I couldn't see my mate next 3 metres away.
We couldn't see the other two, no idea at all.
I'm sure we've all got similar stories.

The real test will be 'the next time'.
Will we, anyone, be able to take anything away from this and apply it in real life?
Epirb attached around the neck? But then that could get ripped off, and if unconscious still useless.
Each situation has its uniqueness.

Credit to the survivability of the man and all credit to our search and rescue bods.

On another note, would these incidents spur any to take up volunteer search and rescue?
The recent episodes around here bought willing locals to the fore in clean up after wild storms and SES were asked on numerous occasions apparently, of how to join them.
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Re: Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Postby Son of a Beach » Thu 18 Jul, 2019 12:53 pm

taswegian wrote:DO NOT KEEP WALKING WITHOUT ANY GEAR.
That's easy to say, and rings true, but reality is one puts the pack down for many reasons.


Too true - things are never as black and white as what I wrote there. It's a guide to be considered in each circumstance, not a blanket rule.

I will still be happy to do short strolls from base camp in ideal weather with an ideal forecast without carrying anything at all. And you cannot have your pack on your back every minute of the day for a wide variety of reasons.

But as far as learning from other people's mistakes goes, this is a great lesson to learn. I hope that I learn from his mistake, and don't get caught out making the same mistake myself at a time when I can't afford it.
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Re: Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Postby Mark F » Thu 18 Jul, 2019 1:31 pm

I've had the experience on the hrp of pitching my tent in a small col and then wandering down about 400-500m looking for water through quite lumpy but open ground. Clear blue sky at the start then suddenly dense fog with 2-3m visibility. Luckily I had a compass and knew the general direction back to the col but I still wandered around for an hour stumbling over sheep, getting cold and frustrated before the fog lifted for a few seconds and I could see the tent 50m away. After that I always mark my campsite or stashed pack on the gps before wandering off.
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Re: Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Postby taswegian » Thu 18 Jul, 2019 1:32 pm

SOB, just reread my post. It may read harsh towards your comment.
Apologies, wasn't intention one iota.

Just furthering the conversation from above by Wolemi
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Re: Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Postby Son of a Beach » Thu 18 Jul, 2019 2:32 pm

taswegian wrote:SOB, just reread my post. It may read harsh towards your comment.
Apologies, wasn't intention one iota.

Just furthering the conversation from above by Wolemi


No worries. You made a good point, anyhow.
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Re: Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Postby Gimped » Thu 18 Jul, 2019 2:54 pm

Mark F wrote:After that I always mark my campsite or stashed pack on the gps before wandering off.


This, this, and THIS.
GPS stays with you always.
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Re: Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Postby stepbystep » Thu 18 Jul, 2019 3:50 pm

Gimped wrote:
Mark F wrote:After that I always mark my campsite or stashed pack on the gps before wandering off.


This, this, and THIS.
GPS stays with you always.


I do the same, but I've experienced a situation at the end of a long hard day where I have emerged from thick scrub, found a campsite, dropped my pack, marked a waypoint and then returned into the scrub to help a friend who was struggling a couple hundred metres back with my GPS in my pocket. After grabbing their pack and wrestling through the scrub again and returning to my pack I've realised the GPS had fell out of my pocket, lost forever. So any device can be lost/broken etc. Of course I had map/compass and a navigation app on my phone.

I think it's all about having systems you work to and then a backup system and a back up to the backup!

I find myself a lot more careful when walking alone.

Old mate on Cuvier Shelf made a big error putting down his pack in such conditions. I know Coal Hill and it's a flattish expanse covered in waist high scoparia, with snow about and thick fog it would be very easy to lose stuff at ground level. He did well once the *&%$#! hit the fan but I bet he was cursing himself for that error...as a photographer I can tell you juggling all the bits and bobs involved needs another system, seems his tripod was his undoing. I do hope someone gets up there and retrieves his gear for him. I imagine all his navigation gear was also in the pack and once fresh snow covered his tracks he was well and truly stuffed.

Great outcome and great work from the SAR. Completely hopeless media coverage however....
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Re: Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Postby Rexyviney36 » Fri 19 Jul, 2019 6:37 pm

Would be interesting to see what would happen if some of the ‘legendary’ walkers commenting here and on other platforms made an innocent mistake that required a rescue.
Must be cool living in world perfect....

Well done to Mr. Bowman I say. I’m sure he knows quite well he made a mistake and is thankful his experience and good decision making post-mistake saved his life.

And well done to the rescue teams. Brilliant stuff this week!
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Re: Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Postby crollsurf » Fri 19 Jul, 2019 8:48 pm

^ and at 57 years he would have got little return on his tax $ until now.

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Re: Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Postby Overlandman » Fri 19 Jul, 2019 10:26 pm

Rexyviney36 wrote:Would be interesting to see what would happen if some of the ‘legendary’ walkers commenting here and on other platforms made an innocent mistake that required a rescue.
Must be cool living in world perfect....

Well done to Mr. Bowman I say. I’m sure he knows quite well he made a mistake and is thankful his experience and good decision making post-mistake saved his life.

And well done to the rescue teams. Brilliant stuff this week!


I got rescued by the rescue chopper in 1993.
A 2 hour walk took almost 30 hours,
I didn’t ask to be rescued, but was grateful when I was winched up into the chopper.
It’s a long story but when rescued I was approximately 200 metres from the track we were heading for.
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Re: Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Postby north-north-west » Sat 20 Jul, 2019 9:36 am

Mark F wrote:After that I always mark my campsite or stashed pack on the gps before wandering off.


Yep, but if I put the pack down to step into the scrubbery and dig a cathole, I'm not going to bother. And a distraction, or the need to go a bit further than you thought you would have to, means it's still easy to lose track of things.
I'm not slagging him off for the lost pack, because I've done that sort of thing myself, although I was luckier with the weather and eventually found the whatever it was. He did a pretty good job of keeping himself alive long enough to be found.
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Re: Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Postby Mark F » Sat 20 Jul, 2019 10:31 am

I agree, nnw. My post was not a criticism. I don't bother marking if I am wandering off for 10 or 20 metres but will make sure I leave my pack in an obvious spot. I believe we all do things that in hindsight are not all that wise. Most of the time those mistakes have zero/minimal consequences and it may take a more serious outcome before we modify our behaviour. The example I wrote about happened after 40 years of walking but thinking back there were similar situations which only caused a minute or three of consternation about relocating my pack/tent. I did not properly evaluate and change until a sufficiently serious event occurred. Evaluation of our actions and behavioural change becomes the experience that helps us walk more safely.
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Re: Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Postby CBee » Sat 20 Jul, 2019 10:36 am

We never going to find common ground on whatever a PLB should have been deployed or not. Or whatever a single accident is the cause of bad luck or stupidity. It's all subjective.
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Re: Helicopter Rescues in Tasmania "2"

Postby GBW » Sat 20 Jul, 2019 11:01 am

You stop on a track to go.
Remove your pack and walk 20m into the bush without much thought.
Wander around looking for a spot.
Do your thing.
5 min later you think which way did I come in?
You walk 20m in the direction you thought you came but your not right.
All of a sudden your 40m from your pack with not much idea of the direction back.
I'd imagine plenty of people who get lost do so within 20m of a track.
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