A RELIEVED Jandabup father has thanked rescue workers for saving his eight-year-old son’s life after he was trapped in a sandy trench for five hours yesterday.
The eight-year-old was airlifted to hospital about 8.15pm after the hole he had been in off Tulloch Court in the rural City of Wanneroo suburb collapsed in around him.
Rescue workers and medics responded to an emergency call about 3.30pm and found the boy trapped up to his neck in the banksia woodland sand.
His father Matt praised the rescuers last night after his son was lifted free to applause from family and neighbours and taken to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in the rescue helicopter before being transferred to PMH with non-life threatening injuries.
“I want to thank the guys; I almost lost my son earlier,” he told Community News from inside an ambulance. “Without these guys here…”
“They did an amazing job,” the boy’s aunty said.
Department of Fire and Emergency Services district officer Nigel Elliott said rescuers arrived to find the boy trapped up to his neck “about 2.5m to 3m below the surface”.
“When crews arrived they found a trench with unstable sides,” he said.
“And crews had to shore-up the trench before making a rescue effort for the young lad.”
Mr Elliott said he understood from the family that “the kids were just digging a hole and just dug it fairly deep” before it collapsed in on the boy.
“They had an initial collapse of the trench,” he said.
“The dad went in to start trying to help him and then the whole side came down on both of them.
“They were both trapped at some point in time.
“The dad was obviously able to free himself.
“The child needed a five-hour extrication to get him out.
“(The sand) was originally up to his neck and was down to his waist for the majority of it.
“But a lot of pressure and a lot of weight against the body.”
Mr Elliott said it had been one of the most technical and dangerous rescues he been involved in, particularly near the end when sand was threatening the stability of one side of the trench.
“A decision needed to be made on whether we did a rapid extrication to try and get the child out without putting extra shoring in,” he said.
“So it was a very tough decision; the guys did an absolute fantastic job rescuing the child and his dad.
“The dad was down there for the entire time and did a fantastic job; he saved his son’s life.
“We had St John Special Operations paramedics with Urban Search and Rescue teams down the hole conducting the rescue.”
Paramedics gave the boy fluids and pain relief.
SES workers helped and brought lighting as the rescue went into the night.