Tragic details of a 15-year-old girl’s lonely walk have been revealed after her father and brother were killed in a landslide.
A 49-year-old father and his nine-year-old son have died after being hit by a freak landslide in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney on Monday.
The British family of five including a husband, wife and three children were on holidays in Australia when tragedy struck around 1.40pm at Wentworth Pass.
The family’s eldest child, a 15-year-old girl escaped uninjured and was able to make the hour-and a half hike back to safety with the assistance of emergency services.
Rescue crews said she was extremely distressed and treated for shock at the scene.
She is being cared for at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.
The 50-year-old mother and her other son, 14, were also seriously injured during the landslide on the popular hiking track.
They were winched from the remote area just before 6pm and flown to hospital were they are fighting for their lives.
The teenage girl called triple-0 and a rescue operation was carried out late into the night to rescue the surviving family members.
“I don’t know where we are,” she reportedly told emergency services.
“The daughter is in shock in hospital at the moment so we are focused on caring for her and just trying to get that support for her,” acting NSW police superintendent John Nelson told radio station 2GB on Tuesday morning.
Blue Mountains tour operator Graham Chapman told 2GB he was walking a group in the area not long after paramedics arrived on the scene.
“Brought me tears,” he said.
“It’s the worst possible scenario as we open back up, international people are coming to our amazing country and this tragedy has happened”
“I know that track very well and it‘s a track that’s not for the faint-hearted – it’s a tough track, deep in the valley.”
Rescue crews will return to the site of the accident to retrieve the bodies of the father and son.
“Obviously there’s been quite a lot of weather and we’ve got quite some weather to come,” Superintendent Nelson said.
“Landslips can come at anytime so it’s always an issue.”
The family was walking the Wentworth Pass hiking track – a historic track that runs off the National Pass underneath 150m of cliff-faces.
“As you can appreciate, it’s a tragic scene,” Superintendent Nelson said.
“In terms of the site, it’s extremely dangerous and unstable so our rescuers are working under quite arduous conditions.
“The first special operations and special casualty access team paramedics who did access the patient, did so under extreme circumstances.”
The two critically injured patients are understood to have sustained significant head and abdominal injuries, requiring them to be sedated and intubated prior to being winched out by helicopter.
“This is absolutely heartbreaking for all involved and a truly tragic ending to what I’m sure was meant to be a pleasant day out,” acting chief superintendent Stewart Clarke said.
“It is terribly sad to have lost two lives here today and my heart goes out to the families and the survivors of this horrific ordeal who have witnessed what is certainly a traumatic event.”
Multiple agencies were involved in trying to help the hikers.
The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service had on its website a “major landslip” had forced the closure of Kedumba Valley Road after the second gate.
The National Pass was also closed “due to flood damage and ongoing rockfall risk”, the service said.
It is unknown why the Wentworth Falls track remained open despite widespread closures across the popular tourist destination.
“The one thing I will say about National Parks is that whenever there is any sign of danger they are so quick to shut tracks down,” Mr Chapman told 2GB.
Officers from Blue Mountains Police Area Command have commenced inquiries into the circumstances surrounding the incident.
The British Consulate is working with Australian authorities to contact their family back home in the United Kingdom.
A report will be prepared for the information of the Coroner.