Graphic: Skrollan in the plane

Adventure turned into tragedy at Dolerite Gorge

Date published

09 Dec 2020

Earlier this year, a 26-year-old woman named Skrollan was hiking with friends at Dolerite Gorge in the Kimberley. One second, she was having the time of her life, the next she was lying on rocks at the bottom of the gorge, in terrible pain and unable to move.

Skrollan on stretcher

“The only thing I remember was hurting my rib cage, seeing the floor getting closer. Then I hit the back of my head on a sharp stone,” Skrollan said.

Skrollan had no idea how severe her injuries were, all she knew was that she was in the middle of nowhere and she needed urgent help.

There was no phone signal in the gorge, so some of Skrollan’s companions hiked back to the lodge where they’d been staying to raise the alarm. All Skrollan could do was wait.

An RFDS flight crew leapt into action the moment they got the call for help, but by this time they were losing daylight.

in front of plane

After landing on a dirt airstrip marked with flares, the crew faced an arduous trek across rocky terrain to reach their patient. Finally, they arrived. “After six hours, we suddenly saw this light” Skrollan remembers. The rescue operation continued in the dark and the safest option to get Skrollan out of there was for her to make the first part of the trip by foot. It would be a few more hours until she could be safely transported to hospital. 

Skrollan thumbs up

There, doctors found she had fractured ribs and severe bruising to her lungs, which explains the ‘bubble’ she felt inflating in her chest.

Skrollan was safe and could finally start to recover. 

When someone is badly injured in the middle of nowhere, the Flying Doctor can be their best chance of survival.

This Christmas, your generous donation can help ensure remote rescues like these are possible for travellers young and old. 

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