Inquest into the 4 Deaths at Mount Augustus

Inquest into the 4 Deaths at Mount Augustus : Hans-Juergen Friedrich BUSKE, Anne Maree POLLARD, Brian Patrick GREEN and Thelma Jacinta GREEN

Delivered on : 17 June 2022

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Deputy State Coroner Linton

Recommendations : Yes

Recommendation No. 1

I recommend that the Hon Reece Whitby MLA, Minister for Environment and Climate Change Action, give consideration to directing the DBCA to close the Summit Trail and Gully Trail at Mt Augustus National Park from 1 November to the end of February each year, under the relevant regulations.

Recommendation No. 2

I recommend that the Hon Reece Whitby MLA, Minister for Environment and Climate Change Action, give consideration to directing DBCA to close the Summit Trail and Gully Trail at Mt Augustus National Park from 1 September to 31 October and 1 March to 30 April each year after 7.00 am each day, so that all visitors proposing to walk the Summit or Gully Trails must commence the walk prior to that time, unless they are participating in a guided ranger walk.  Following on from Recommendation 1, if those trails are not closed during the months of November to February, then I would obviously recommend the same closure after 7.00 am should apply to those months unless visitors are undertaking a guided ranger walk.

Recommendation No. 3

I recommend that DBCA explore the option of the Tourist Park facilitating a short-term PLB loan scheme, similar to what is done in Purnululu National Park and with the stock of PLB’s supplied by DBCA.

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : N/A

Summary :  The Deputy State Coroner conducted a joint inquest hearing into the four deaths of Mr Buske, Mrs Pollard and Mr and Mrs Green who died while hiking the Summit Trail on Mount Augustus, known to the traditional owners as Burringurrah, in the heart of the Gascoyne Region of Western Australia.  The inquest investigated all four deaths because there were similar circumstances.  The Deputy State Coroner examined how these deaths related to public health and safety for other visitors to Mount Augustus in the future.

All four persons were sensible, mature people and experienced travellers, but they did not have sufficient warning before they did the walk of the risks that they faced, and the steps that they should take if they wished to attempt the Summit Walk at that time of the year.  All four people succumbed to hyperthermia in the sweltering conditions.

The Deputy State Coroner made three recommendations relating to improving safety for visitors and emergency responders at the Mt Augustus National Park.

Catch Words : Hiking Summit Trails : Adequate Warning Signs : Communication in Remote Areas : Emergency Management : Accident


Last updated: 19-Jul-2022

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