It was supposed to be a fun day of dirt-bike riding. And for a time, that’s exactly what it was. It was early May, and Jordan Cameron and some friends were whizzing their dirt bikes along the dunes near Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. Then, everything changed in an instant. Cameron’s brakes locked on an incline, sending the 19-year-old hurtling over the handlebars. His stunned friends rushed to his side and quickly called for an ambulance.
“It was around that time that the Barrick boys came about,” says Ross Cameron, Jordan’s father, who gave an account of the incident.
The “Barrick boys” were the members of the Kanowna Belle mine safety and rescue team. They were driving home from a rescue competition in Kalgoorlie when they came upon the accident scene. The seven-member team had put in many hours of training to prepare for the competition, and their hard work was about to pay off in a way that they couldn’t have anticipated.
“We saw that an accident had happened,” says Phil Clarke, Kanowna Belle’s team captain. “Some of us cordoned off the area and the rest attended to the young man on the ground." One of Cameron’s friends was cradling Cameron’s head in his arms. Cameron was semi-conscious and having difficulty breathing. The Kanowna Belle team immediately understood why. “His airway was blocked because of the position of his head,” Clarke says. “We were able to straighten his neck out and get him breathing again.”
Ross Cameron credits the Kanowna Belle team with saving his son’s life. “I just thank God they came along when they did and knew what to do,” he says, his voice thick with emotion.
By the time the ambulance arrived, the Kanowna Belle team had placed Cameron on a stretcher board and fitted him with a neck brace. Several members of the team followed the ambulance to the hospital and stayed until they were told Cameron’s condition was stable. After some initial concern about a spinal injury, the worst of Cameron’s injuries turned out to be a badly broken wrist.
Clarke, who works on the production charge crew at Kanowna Belle, says he was glad the team was able to help Jordan and proud of the way they performed. “It was great the way the team gelled,” he says. “Everyone knew exactly what to do.”
The Kanowna Belle team placed second out of 14 in the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Emergency Response Rescue competition. For Ross Cameron, the team will always be number one. “We got our boy back and we’re pretty grateful for that.”