Teen airlifted with spinal injuries

The Careflight helicopter hovers near the Yamba Lighthouse headland while rescuing a boy who washed off rocks.
The Careflight helicopter hovers near the Yamba Lighthouse headland while rescuing a boy who washed off rocks.

A YAMBA teenager is in hospital with suspected spinal injuries after hitting his head on a rock while mucking around with his mates on a water's edge rock ledge below Yamba's Pilot Hill lighthouse.

One of the first people on the scene, Yamba intensive care paramedic Jim Lawrence, said the 17-year-old was on the ledge which incoming waves break over, creating the feeling of being inside the tube of a wave, with around six mates.

"One of his mates bumped him and his head went back and hit the rock ledge," Mr Lawrence said.

"He climbed up off the ledge and was complaining of a sore neck and some tingling in his neck and back."

The Gold Coast CareFlight helicopter was dispatched about 12.30pm to assist emergency services workers as red marker buoys offshore indicated the location of the teenager.

After being assessed by intensive care paramedics, as his distressed parents watched, the teenager was winched to the top of Pilot Hill for further examination by paramedics.

Daily Examiner photographer Adam Hourigan was at the scene and talked to Surf Lifesaving Far North Coast Clarence duty officer Peter Sweetman about the incident.

"A young fellow was playing down on the rocks on the water's edge, he fell, hit his head," Mr Sweetman said.

"He suffered some symptoms of possible spinal injury."

Paramedics, police and the SES attended the incident.

"Members of the surf lifesaving club stood offshore in an IRB in case required."

Intensive care paramedic Peter Clement, of Yamba Ambulance Station, told Adam about the logistics of treating the teenager due to his location.

"It appeared that he had some minor spinal injuries but to get him out was going to be almost impossible," he said.

"We had to mobilise the CareFlight helicopter from the Gold Coast and they have come in and assessed the patient and done a winch-out of that area."

The Lismore-based Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter was unable to attend the incident after its pilots were grounded as they had exceeded their permitted flying hours after an extensive two-day search for a missing 56-year-old Goonellabah woman at Mt Nardi, near Nimbin.

The teenager was assessed by CareFlight paramedics and flown to the Gold Coast with suspected spinal injuries. He is believed to be in a stable condition.

Topics:  spinal injuries yamba

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