Should foolish hiker foot the bill?

Setting off for a hike up Mt Warning in Queensland seemed to one man a great way to spend the Easter break, however, after becoming too tired to make it back down the mountain, the 38-year-old man had to be rescued at the tax payers’ expense.

Costing thousands of dollars and involving 20 people, the rescue of the 115kg man serves to highlight the foolishness of those who set off on an ‘adventure’ without being fully prepared. Flown to hospital and discharged shortly afterwards, having been treated for dehydration, I’m sure the man is glad to be safe and will have a ‘real exciting tale’ to tell his family and friends. However, the search and rescue team volunteers who gave up their precious time with their families over the long weekend are none too pleased – and rightly so.

Not only was the man physically incapable of making the trek in the first place, he apparently ignored warning signs not to commence any climb in the afternoon.

Tweed Rescue duty officer Mal Pearse didn’t mince his words, “If the weather didn’t clear we were going to have to carry a 115kg man down the mountain.”

“It would have taken all of us to do it and we would be here until 1am. You need to be ready to take on Mt Warning. We don’t mind coming to genuine accidents but frivolous jobs are very disconcerting,” he said.

Of course, this isn’t the first, and it won’t be the last incidence, of foolishness when hiking, climbing and generally setting out on ‘adventures’. But what will it take for people to realise that other people, often unpaid volunteers, risk their lives to rescue them when they get into trouble, or heaven forbid, too tired to walk down a mountain? Simple really – make them pay for their rescue. Much in the same way that we have to have ambulance cover or otherwise wear the cost, people who find themselves in dangerous situations simply due to their own stupidity should be charged for the privilege of the being rescued. Do you agree?


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