Every effort is made to ensure that the text is accurate but...

Wollangambe 1

The following corrections apply for the incident description 2 January 2021: In the book it says that police reports said that the group size exceeded the eight person limit but the group leader says that “there were two separate groups of six people in the canyon. We complied with NPWS requirements. After the accident the two groups combined briefly, then two faster walkers were sent ahead while I led the remaining 7 people out. To say we did not obey NPWS rules is incorrect I don’t believe any police reports said that the group size exceeded the limit.”  Three other groups cancelled their trips through the canyon but there were two other groups in the canyon and also in the nearby Du Faurs and Wollangambe 2 canyons.  Lastly, It’s incorrect to say that the group didn’t have a personal beacon, as in fact they had several beacons.

Not stung by wasp

Page 233: 23 November 2019, Kanangra Walls:  It was reported at the time that the injured man was stung by a wasp, and as a result, suffered anaphylactic shock.  However, I have today been reliably informed that it was thought that this was the case because the man was having trouble breathing in the helicopter and he reported seeing some wasps.  In fact, he had a collasped lung, and was able to breath properly again when the lung was punctured.

Also, the photos on that page and page 232 were taken by Gabby Fau.  She allowed their use by multiple organisations, resulting in an incorrect attribution, but she says it’s still Ok for me to use them (and also it’s Ok to use them on any future editions).  I’m sending her a free copy of the book, as one of the the photos is also on the front cover.

PLB now only available at NPWS office in Blackheath

Page 9: PLB’s can now only be borrowed from the NPWS office in Blackheath. They are not obtainable in tourist information centres and police stations as stated in the text. They may be returned to a police station if you return after the NPWS office is closed.

Dallas, NOT Brad, Atkinson

I am told I have Police rescue members in stiches as I confused Dallas Atkinson with Brad Atkinson on page 363.  I have tried many, many times to get the local police to read the text before it was published.  This included taking extreme measures like printing the text and trying to give it to Dallas Atkinson when I was operating on a SES  search commanded by him.  When I had the proof copy of the book, I took it to Springwood police station in the hope that someone in the Area Command could look at the proof, which was the last chance to change anything.  Again, they refused to even let me leave it there.   Not one serving member of the police force or police department would look at it.  Police media refused as they said it was too long.  There was thus no possiblity of the text being checked by the local police before it was published.  Apparently there are legal problems because some of the incidents involved a coroner giving an open finding, but that’s maybe three out of 620, and surely an administrative officer could have checked at least some of the text.

I did get the text read by a senior retired policeman, who only agreed to read the section on the history of Police Rescue.  He started talking about Brad Atkinson and didn’t seem to know who Dallas Atkinson was, and this is the cause of the confusion on page 363 where I have put “Sgt Brad (Dallas) Atkinson”.   I apologise, this is the sort of error that could have been fixed if somebody from the local command had been willing or able to read the final text.   This error will be fixed in future editions.  Elsewhere in the book I have not mentiond Brad.  Brad’s name should not be mentioned at all in that context, he is a completely different person.

I also go the entire text read by Valentine Smith, a retired Victorian policeman who now runs his own business specialising in search and rescue.  He makde some suggestions which were implemented.  His comment was “You ought to be congratulated”.

Page 337: Victim says Level Crossing crash was caused by rail authority

March 23 1979: On this Friday night, SRA employees were working on the train line at Faulconbridge. They had disconnected the hook up between the tracks and the safety warning lights near the level crossing. The SRA had people on a manual gate that they would close every time a train was coming, then open for road traffic after the train passed.

Mathew Stark (from Springwood) attempted to drive a late model Torana across the Faulconbridge level crossing with Stephen Thomas of Faulconbridge as his passenger, but “as I crossed the line SRA people, who were working on the line , placed themselves in front of the car, saying that there was a train coming, I looked down for reverse, looked up, the workers had moved away from my car and that is when I saw the west bound Comeng built double decker [passenger] train coming at us [“The Fish”]. The train pushed my car about 30 to 40 metres down the track towards Faulconbridge station.”  The car was severely damaged. Mr Stark had a fracture to his right hand, cuts to his right hand and shoulder and suffered from shock. He had a bad neck for the next 20 years, too,

Mathew says “We were able to free ourselves and, because they were doing track work, there was a Franna crane on site to remove my car off the tracks. The train was an hour late. It was the final straw for many train passengers with many jumping off the train and using the public phone across road (GWH) to get family or a friend to pick them up.” The train driver had also jumped out.

Mathew got into an ambulance and saw the ‘Fish’ start rolling down the line towards Springwood. “Workers had to use a crane and chains through the front windows to secure the train and stop it rolling down the hill any further. I remember it got to the next bend before they could stop it. I still remember the motion of the crane going down the track and commotion when they realised that train was rolling away.” He was taken to Nepean Hospital, but was later released.

Mr Thomas had cuts to both arms and glass fragments in one eye but went home and did not seek hospital treatment. They obtained an out of court settlement with the SRA in a few years after

Kellie Anne Carmichael Found

Page 280: The remains of missing woman Kellie Ann Carmichael have been found 23 years after she went missing in the Blue Mountains.

The Victorian woman, who was 24 years old at the time of her disappearance, went missing after leaving a hostel at Katoomba on April 29, 2001.

NSW Police said human remains were found in bushland near Katoomba in an unrelated police operation on April 30 2024, with further remains found at the same location on May 27, 2024.

Police said Ms Carmichael’s remains were formally identified and her family has been notified.

An investigation is underway, and evidence will be prepared for the coroner.