Dramatic rescue at NT outback Hot Springs

SPRINGS RESCUE: Paramedics and the man's mates help float the badly injured backpacker down the popular Katherine tourist attraction. Picture: Brian Dean.

SPRINGS RESCUE: Paramedics and the man's mates help float the badly injured backpacker down the popular Katherine tourist attraction. Picture: Brian Dean.

A New Zealand backpacker was today in a critical condition in the Royal Darwin Hospital after a serious accident at the the popular Katherine tourist attraction, the Hot Springs on Saturday night.

A holidaying nurse helped keep the man alive after he apparently slipped and fell from a tree above the springs’ top pool just before 6pm.

Emergency services were forced to float the unconscious man on a stretcher down the springs because of the steep banks.

Katherine paramedics guided the stretcher though the water until they could lift him out safely.

Registered nurse Judith Dean from Brisbane was at the springs with husband Brian when the accident happened.

“We are grey nomads and we just arrived in Katherine and went down for a swim when we heard all the noise from further up,” Mr Dean said.

“My wife manually kept his airway open for about 10 minutes until the emergency services could arrive.”

Mr Dean said the man was unconscious “and pretty much out of it”.

“He could have had serious injuries from that fall, we hope he is going to be okay.”

St John Ambulance officer in charge at Katherine, Rhys Dowell, was in the water with the injured man.

The badly hurt man was later flown by CareFlight from Katherine to Royal Darwin Hospital where his condition was listed as serious.

Mr Dowell said it was the second emergency he attended in a similar fashion at the springs.

“He landed on his back from a height of five to six metres, he may have hit his head on the way down,” he said.

“It was a difficult extraction because of the steepness of the banks there.

“It was too hazardous to try there so we had to move further down for safety reasons.” 

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