A MELBOURNE teenager on a school camp endured almost seven hours stuck between boulders as she rock climbed near Benalla yesterday.
The 15-year-old was on a three-day camp at Charnwood Outdoor Centre in Lima East, about 30 kilometres south of Benalla.
The centre’s program co-ordinator, Jake Matthews, said at 10am, the girl partook in the “squeeze test” where students shimmied between two big boulders and dropped four metres below.
But the schoolgirl became stuck at her hips.
“We tried for probably an hour to get her out, when we couldn’t we called in the help of the SES,” Mr Matthews said.
That call sparked a response from paramedics, CFA and police including helicopters.
Ambulance Victoria spokesman John Mullen said paramedics could only administer some pain relief as they waited for the girl to be freed.
He said they feared the girl might have suffered pelvic and leg injuries.
Mr Matthews said the teenager kept high spirits throughout with her mother in constant contact.
“She did amazingly well at keeping herself together, big props to her and to the teachers up there as well,” he said.
The police search and rescue squad led the operation to free the girl.
Mr Matthews said several rope systems were used.
“She wiggled and jiggled and it took a lot of small jiggles to get her out of there,” he said.
The girl was freed at 4.40pm, paramedics relieved to discover her injuries were minor.
“She’s in a lot better condition than we thought. She was complaining of sore hips but she’s quite chirpy,” Mr Mullen said.
“There doesn’t appear to be any obvious injuries. They were concerned there would be crush injuries because she’d been there for so long.”
The girl was flown to the Royal Children’s Hospital at 6.15pm for treatment.
Benalla highway patrol acting Sgt Paul Bronsgeest, who was on scene, described the ordeal as a “freaky accident” and there would be no further police investigation once a report was completed.
Mr Matthews said the incident should not deter people from rock climbing.
“She was stuck for sure but we’d like to think this doesn’t deter anyone from coming into the outdoors and on school camps.
“There’s 59 kids still out here having a ball.”