Search and rescue on the ice

vehicles and expeditioners on ice with mountain in background
Technical Search and Rescue (SAR) training in the Framnes Mountains near Mawson research station (Photo: Tom Carew)
Stretcher on ice cliffexpeditioners and vehicles in snow

When you’re 5475 kilometres from help, you need to know you can rely on the team around you.

That’s why our expeditioners at Mawson research station have been out in the field near the Framnes Mountains, undertaking an intensive period of search and rescue (SAR) training.

Senior Field Training Officer, Ian Whiteley, says the Technical SAR Team is on standby at all times to respond to incidents or accidents, on and off station.

“The five-person team includes plumbers, electricians, a building services supervisor and a mechanic,” Mr Whiteley said.

“Our training involves several days of core search and rescue skills including basic roping and knotcraft, establishing anchor and pulley rescue systems, rigging and hauling stretchers at height, climbing and abseiling, and advanced field survival skills.”

The training culminated in a practical exercise, rescuing a casualty at ‘Endwave’, an iconic 5-metre high frozen ice-wave located approximately 20 kilometres from Mawson.

Despite the challenges of working in minus 20 degrees and 40 knot winds, the SAR team successfully conducted the mock rescue and retrieved their patient.

The SAR Team has regular training sessions throughout the year.