Perth bushwalker rescued minutes before flames razed his shelter

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JANUARY 16 2018 – 1:14PM

Fran Rimrod

A Perth retiree had a close call at the Sawyers Valley bushfire after being plucked by a rescue chopper from the shack he was sheltering in, just minutes before the structure was razed by flames.

Everard Curchin, 67, was bushwalking on Sunday morning along the Bibbulmun Track, unaware that the blaze in the area was coming dangerously close.

As he realised about 1pm he was trapped in the danger zone, he fled into a Bibbulmun shack for shelter, unable to get a phone signal.

He was plucked to safety by a Department of Fire and Emergency Services rescue helicopter with minutes to spare before the shack he was sheltering in was consumed by flames.

“I would not have survived,” Mr Curchin told 9 News Perth reporter Michael Stamp of the close call.

“Up until the time when I was pulled out and I could see it from the air…I thought ‘well, this is big’, but I had no idea,” he said.

“Probably in about five minutes it would have been overrun and I believe the structure is now gone,” a DFES spokesman said.

“I very much appreciate the danger the pilot and the observer exposed themselves to,” Mr Curchin said.

The blaze that tore through more than 3000 hectares of bush in Sawyers Valley on Sunday is believed to have been deliberately lit.

Detectives would like to speak to the driver of a grey, early 2000 model Ford Falcon (similar to the one shown) that was seen on Gorrie Road in the area of Hancock Brook.

It is believed the driver may be able to assist with their inquiries.

Rewards of up to $50,000 are available for information that leads to the identification and conviction of an arsonist.


Source  :  WA Today

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