[LINK] Lost in the Blue Mountains: triple-0 operator 'uncaring'

Bernard Robertson-Dunn brd at iimetro.com.au
Fri Apr 17 15:39:02 AEST 2009

This story sheds a bit more light on what happened.

I hope that the DofE and/or Sydney Grammar School (assuming they really 
didn't know what was going on) don't get caught in the blame game.

My experience of the DofE - admittedly in the early '60s when I did the 
Gold Award which included 5 days in the Brecon Beacons in Wales, much 
more remote than the Blue Mountains - was that everyone took the whole 
thing very seriously. We were in two separate groups of five, both 
shadowed by two teachers (unseen by us, except for a couple of planned 
rendezvous). There was no way it could have been called a "bushwalk" in 
Australian terms or "ramble" in English.

If this had been a DofE "adventurous journey", as they now call it, I 
doubt that this would have happened. It seems to me that it was an 
unfortunate accident brought about by inexperienced youngsters doing 
things that they were not equipped (in all senses of the word) for, 
compounded by a lack of communication between kids, teachers and parents.

Sad, but let's not beat up the innocent.

And I'm referring to DofE and the school, not the triple-0 
operator/system. I don't know enough about what happened to comment.

Teacher forgot to give tragic David GPS: inquest
17 April 2009

A Sydney schoolboy who died after becoming separated from his friends 
while bushwalking in the Blue Mountains had asked to borrow a GPS system 
from his teacher in case he got lost.

An inquest into the death of David Iredale, 17, heard that David had 
become "annoyed" when a teacher at Sydney Grammar School, Jim Forbes, 
forgot to give him a global positioning system for a hike the boys 
believed would count towards their Duke of Edinburgh award.

Phillip Chan told the inquest at Penrith Court complex he believed that 
David had spoken to Mr Forbes about the planned December 2006 trip.

Sydney Grammar School has denied that any of its teachers knew about the 
boys' hike. David died after becoming severely dehydrated on the second 
day of the 3 day hike.

He made several desperate calls to emergency services telling call 
operators he could not walk far and begging for a helicopter to be sent.

His walking companions, Chan and Kostas Brooks, were found safe on 
December 11 2006, just hours after David had made his first call for help.

But David's body was not found until eight days later.

The trip had originally been planned as a school-approved Duke of 
Edinburgh expedition for June that year.

But it was cancelled after parents became concerned about cold 
temperatures and lack of daylight during the winter months.

The court heard David and Chan started planning the December trip using 
maps and information that had been provided by Mr Forbes for the June 

Chan was unsure about what David had spoken to Mr Forbes about in 
regards to the trip, but said that he had approached the teacher himself 
after a chemistry class and asked him about the type of food that the 
boys should take on the trip.

Chan said the boys had not known whether they needed formal approval for 
the trip.

"No-one had ever told either of us that we had to put in any type of 
paperwork or permission forms for any trip that we went on," he said.

Chan said David had told him he had asked to borrow a GPS system from Mr 
Forbes and that he had planned to use it on the December trip, but Mr 
Forbes had forgotten to give it to him.

The court had heard that Mr Forbes believed the GPS would have been used 
for another trip planned for the Snowy Mountains in January 2007.

The inquest continues.


Bernard Robertson-Dunn
Canberra Australia
brd at iimetro.com.au

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