Brave teens awarded following Bells Rapids rescue

18 November 2020

In April this year, as COVID-19 restrictions were well and truly in place across WA, friends Jordan France and Alexander Woods had caught up at Bells Rapids to get some much-needed fresh air. The weather was warm and the riverbed had dried up so you could walk straight down the river.

Jordan says they walked past some children who were playing in small pools of water that were still in the riverbed, laughing and having fun, when suddenly they heard something odd. “We could hear someone screaming, at first we just assumed it was the kids because we saw them on our way in, but as we got closer we heard a young girl screaming again, and as we got within about 100m of her we could hear that she was calling for help.”

Jordan and Alexander, both 17-years-old at the time, had completed emergency response training as part of their outdoor ed class at school, while Jordan had also completed a Bronze Medallion. They knew immediately they had to do something to help! “We ran to try and find her and had to run up the hill - that’s when we saw her laying on her back, unable to move. I got up there first and I told Alex to call an ambulance, so he did that and then I went down to wait in the car park for the ambulance while he stayed with her.”

It turns out the woman had fallen about 20 metres and landed on a rock ledge. She’d hit her head, hips and had possible spine damage, so Jordan says getting her out of there was tricky. “When the paramedics got there they had to go across the river and then decided to get her airlifted out with a helicopter. It took about two hours for them to give her sedation and then safely take her up into the helicopter so she could be transported to hospital. We found her around 5.30 and she said she’d already been there for about half an hour then.”

While all of this was going on Alex assisted the paramedics in caring for the woman, while Jordan took multiple trips back to the ambulance to retrieve medical equipment, it was a real team effort! This incident demonstrates immense courage and maturity well beyond Alex and Jordan’s years, as they remained calm and collected, and worked together to provide emotional support for the victim and assistance to the medical response teams.

Jordan says his previous training helped in this emergency situation. “I’d done an outdoor ed course at school and Scouts before that, and I also did a Bronze Medallion course so that probably helped in a way for me to know what to do. For anyone else in a similar situation I’d just say stay calm and don’t overthink it or panic. I’d also encourage people to take on a first aid or Bronze Medallion course because they’re good life skills to have and you never know when you might need them.”

For their immense courage and willingness to help Jordan and Alex recently received Royal Life Saving Gold Medallion Bravery Awards. We commend them for their efforts! If you know someone who’s responded in an emergency situation to save a life why not make sure they receive the recognition they deserve? Nominate them for a Royal Life Saving Bravery Award at the link below.

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