Late-night rescue for teen trapped in blackberries down bank

EMERGENCY services had to rescue a teenage girl who was stuck in dense blackberries down a steep embankment at Apollo Bay early yesterday.

Firefighters spent about 90 minutes cutting through scrub to access the 17-year-old, after she went missing after attending a party just west of Apollo Bay some time before 2am.

Apollo Bay Fire Brigade’s rescue unit used chainsaws to cut a track to the girl, and then used a rope and stretcher to pull her to safety.

Apollo Bay Fire Brigade captain David Howell said the girl was stuck in blackberries and vegetation, 30 to 40 metres down a steep bank, when officers attended about 2am yesterday.

“She was cut up a lot from the blackberries and scratches,” Mr Howell said.

Leading Senior Constable Andrew Orchard said it was unclear how the girl became stuck in the brush.

He said police believed the girl, 17, was at an 18th birthday party outside town, but became lost after leaving the party.

“At some stage she has found herself walking off the road,” Sen Const Orchard said.

He said the girl was distressed, and a group of girls heard her calling for help, and waved down police who were patrolling in the area.

Sen Const Orchard said the girl was difficult to access in thick scrub and steep terrain.

“We could hear her, we just weren’t able to see her with the torches,” he said.

An Ambulance Victoria spokesman said the girl had an existing medical condition, and suffered exposure, cuts and abrasions during the ordeal.

An ambulance took her to Apollo Bay hospital, where she was in a stable condition. An ambulance later transferred her to Geelong Hospital for further treatment.

Sen Const Orchard said police were continuing their inquiries into the event.

About 10 Apollo Bay Fire Brigade volunteers attended, as well as police and ambulance officers.

Mr Howell said it was the brigade’s second rope rescue in a week, after retrieving a man at Skenes Creek when his car went over an embankment the previous Sunday.

He praised volunteers for their work.

“They did an excellent job in the middle of the night.”

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