Jigalong rangers assist with
Canning Stock Route evacuation
In mid-July the Jigalong rangers received a call from the BHP Billiton AirVac Helicopter wanting to know if the rangers could ‘activate the fuel’. There was a tourist having a possible heart attack on the Canning Stock Route. The BHP Billiton team indicated they might need to use the fuel from Jigalong that is stored in the KJ sea- container as part of the BHP Billiton helicopter agreement.
Ranger Coordinator, Peter Twigg, spoke to the rangers about the situation and everyone was ready to give a hand. The team received a call from the helicopter that they would be on the ground at 1.15pm and could the rangers bring three drums of fuel to the airstrip. The rangers, Twigg and Rhino loaded the fuel drums, drove them down to the airstrip and stood off to the side. The helicopter arrived and the rangers drove the fuel over, tipped the drums off the back and rolled them over to the helicopter. The helicopter team worked quickly to fuel up and get ready to go.
The team spoke to the pilot about where they were going and as soon as they said Well 17 the rangers started describing the claypan and a possible landing area. Twigg rustled up a piece of paper and ranger Kernett Samson drew in the range and then the roads,
the Canning Stock route, Pinpi Gorge and the toilet block. The rangers described to the pilot what it would look like from the air as he approached. The helicopter then departed. The rangers returned to the ranger station with the left-over fuel and left it on the ute in case the helicopter needed more on return.
Late in afternoon the rangers received another call from the helicopter. The helicopter was coming in and needed more fuel. Quickly the team got together and went down to the airstrip. The helicopter arrived, the fuel was once again dropped off the ute, rolled and pumped. The patient was looking OK and thanked the rangers. The pilot gave a special thank you as there was apparently some confusion about the coordinates and it was the hand drawn map and description of the site that led them directly to the patient. At the end of the fueling process and in the now rapidly fading light the helicopter took off. The rangers returned the last drum of fuel to the shed and knocked off for the day. Well done team.