Story by Operations Officer Alun Hughson
The Oscar 1 Mine Rescue team was despatched from Bendigo to see if a rescue was possible. Team members entered a tunnel with BG4 BA sets, ropes and gas detection equipment. Fifty metres along the tunnel they found a vertical shaft but could not see the dog due to a slight bend in the shaft and timbers which partially obscured their view. Setting up lighting and ropes they descended 15 metres to where the dog had fallen.
A second tunnel was found 10 metres down the shaft. The dog was hauled to this level by rope then carried out through this 80 metre tunnel which exited further down the hill.
Charlie the border collie spent a few days with the vet and is now home and expected to make a full recovery. The top of the femur has been trimmed at the hip end in an operation. He sustained ligament/hip damage but the prognosis is that he will still get around on all four legs.
There are many abandoned mines all across Central Victoria and many in the remote areas are undocumented. There are an estimated 3000 mine shafts in the Bendigo area alone and the exact location of a third of them is unknown. Many were covered over in the past by simple timber and earth covers and age and water regularly reveal an unknown shaft.
Oscar 1 is the only CFA group with underground mine rescue capability and one of only three underground mine rescue teams in Victoria.
The Oscar 1 team will be competing in the Victorian Mines Competition this coming weekend in Bendigo along with 11 other teams from around Australia.
Photos courtesy of Oscar 1