WARNING: North Burnett SES Local Controller Brian Lowe believes it's a matter of when, not if, there is a fatality on Mt Walsh.
WARNING: North Burnett SES Local Controller Brian Lowe believes it's a matter of when, not if, there is a fatality on Mt Walsh. Erica Murree

Warnings after teen collapses on mountain climb

NORTH Burnett's SES Local Controller has issued warnings about the safety of the climb at Mt Walsh after a young schoolgirl had to be rescued.

The Bundaberg RACQ LifeFlight helicopter was dispatched yet again to the mountain, to airlift a 16-year-old schoolgirl from Hervey Bay who collapsed around halfway up the mountain while hiking with a school group.

The helicopter was also required in April, after a woman in her 50s fell and suffered a suspected broken leg, and before that in July last year, a 24-year-old woman slipped about 15m down the mountain, suffering leg, neck and back injuries.

"Everybody is of the opinion that there will be a fatality, it's not if (there will be),” Mr Lowe said.

"There are certain sections of that climb, if anyone was injured, they couldn't be extradited by stretcher.

"The track is in places extremely difficult and very narrow, so narrow you can't carry a stretcher on it.

"So if something happens to someone on that section, we would have to get a Vertical Rescue Unit to either take them to the top to be choppered off or lower them to the bottom of a cliff, where they could then be carried down.”

'The Bluff' walking track to the Mt Walsh summit is considered a class 4 track, transitioning to a class 5 track as it becomes less defined.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Environment and Science, which manages the Parks and Forests portfolio, said warning signs on the track are prominent.

One of the signs warns of "unstable and slippery surfaces”.

"Climbing or walking in steep or wet and slippery areas may result in serious injury or death.

"Only experienced and well prepared walkers should consider walking past this point.

"Your safety is our concern, but your responsibility.”

Moira Thompson, who takes hiking groups up Mt Walsh via her company Experience Altitude said the warning signage are "totally adequate”.

She disagrees with Mr Lowe about the possibility of a fatality.

"There is enough publicity on social media that people should know it's not just a stroll in the park,” Mrs Thompson said.

"The mountain requires responsibility and for people to be prepared.”

Mrs Thompson said she believes coverage of accidents will remind people to be cautious.

"It will only become more popular as people look for adventures,” she said.