A group of Blue Mountains Grammar students on an outdoor leadership camp were rescued on Sunday, after their instructor had a suspected heart attack.
The group were kayaking in the remote Kataway Bay area of Myall Lakes, when their instructor, a man aged 50, began experiencing severe chest pain.
Emergency services were called at about 4.15pm on October 25, and the instructor set off an emergency beacon.
The area is not easily accessible by land or air, so NSW Police requested assistance from Surf Life Saving NSW to access the man by water.
The Pacific Palms Surf Life Saving Club emergency callout team towed an inflatable rescue boat to the area during high winds, fog and rain squalls.
The instructor was stabilised and wrapped in a space blanket for warmth and taken to Manning Base Hospital in Taree in a stable condition, according to a Surf Life Saving Club spokesperson.
Meanwhile, the 10 school students, their teacher and their kayaks were transported from Kataway Bay back to Neranie Boat Ramp in the dark, with boats and kayaks joined in a chain behind an SES boat with navigation lights.
Pacific Palms Surf Life Saving Club duty officer Dave Ellis commended the guide for carrying an emergency beacon.
“Thankfully, the school’s outdoor guide was a professional. It shows you the importance of a personal EPIRB,” he said.
“They did the right thing and stayed together. They also had the right equipment and thankfully everyone went home and that’s the best outcome we can hope for as an emergency service.”
Blue Mountains Grammar School headmaster Ian Maynard said he was very proud of how the students had handled the situation.
“We train them in how to deal with a crisis when they occur,” he said.
“I was speaking with the teacher when she got back, and she said she couldn’t have hoped for a more mature and professional response from them.”
Mr Maynard said the 10 students, all in year 11, had put into action what they had learned in this outdoor leadership course.
He said the instructor had “gotten the all clear.”