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Ambulance honours rescue crew with prestigious awards

11 Feb 2011


The Ambulance Service of NSW Distinguished Service Medal is the Services highest award. It recognises acts of conspicuous bravery by Paramedics that are deemed to be beyond the line of normal duty. On Friday 11 February at the Ambulance Rescue Helicopter base in Bankstown, this esteemed medal was awarded to highly respected Special Casualty Access Team (SCAT) Paramedic Harry Gatt, by the NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Health Carmel Tebbutt, for his courageous efforts in saving two rock climbers from a cliff face approximately 400m high.

Paramedic Gatt was part of a specialist rescue team tasked to ‘Pierces Pass' near Blackheath in the Blue Mountains in May 2010. The rescue team were faced with extremely difficult circumstances having to locate, treat and rescue two patients who had fallen onto small rock ledges 250m from the top of the cliff. This difficult rescue not only involved being winched onto a slippery 60 degree ledge but also a precarious traverse across a 2.5m rocky shelf.

"Everyday Paramedics across NSW work hard to provide care in what are often challenging circumstances," Ms Tebbutt said. "Mr Gatt is recongnised for his conspicuous bravery as he worked to proved care to two patients who had fallen onto a rock ledge. "I join the Ambulance Service in thanking Mr. Gatt for his commitment and his courage."

Captain Lachlan Slatyer, Aircrewman Greg Gill and Doctor Roger Bloomer were also presented with commendations of courage for their extraordinary efforts, teamwork and technical skill displayed throughout the incident. Captain Slatyer and Aircrewman Gill positioned the aircraft precariously close to the cliff face to enable the Paramedic and Doctor to be winched onto the small ledge.

The entire team worked tirelessly in very difficult and dangerous conditions. Their efforts in coordinating and executing the rescue ensured the 2 injured patient's rescue was carried out in a manner that ensured both patients received the highest quality clinical care.

Photo Above: NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Health Carmel Tebbutt pins the Distinguished Medal Award to SCAT Paramedic Harry Gatt.
Photo Below (From Left): Doctor Roger Bloomer, SCAT Paramedic Harry Gatt, Captain Lachlan Slatyer and Aircrewman Greg Gill.