Girl injures neck and back after Cowwarr Weir rafting accident

A 15-YEAR-old schoolgirl was winched to safety at the second attempt this morning after sustaining neck and back injuries near Cowwarr Weir last night.

The Ivanhoe Grammar student one of 15 rafting down the Thomson River last night when she fell out after coming into rapid.

Emergency services were alerted to the accident at 5.40pm with a paramedic camped out with the girl overnight after inclement weather and nightfall saw the first attempt to winch the girl into an ambulance helicopter was abandoned just before 6pm.

Ambulance Victoria group manager Eddie Wright said the girl and paramedic were finally winched out by helicopter about 8am today with the student was taken to the Latrobe Regional Hospital in a stable condition.

“The track getting in was slippery and wet so that caused us some issues,” he said.

“It was quite a steep area they were in, it was a staircase that goes down to the river with a number of stages of it, and that was almost vertical.

“Once they got down to the river they were able to walk part of it but the river’s got a few deep holes where they just used the raft to navigate across.

“It was only a short distance up the river to where the patient was and during the night we actually sent some more equipment in to better support the group overnight and manage the patient.”

Police search and rescue and State Emergency Service crews assisted with the rescue.

With fears of hypothermia if the group was sufficiently protected from the elements, Mr Wright said the group was well-prepared for an emergency, packing a satelite phone, extra food and suitable clothing.

“When we found out that information, that made our decision so much easier to leave them in overnight and get them out in daylight,” he said.

“That doesn’t endanger the group that’s in there, but it doesn’t endanger the emergency services people.”

The rest of the group walked out of the area this morning.