Call to make The Leap safer after serious abseiling accident
A SERIOUS abseiling accident at The Leap has the small rural community demanding State Government action to make the area safer.
A 31-year-old man is in a critical condition in Townsville after falling 25 metres down a cliff face at The Leap, 20km north of Mackay, about 5.30pm Tuesday.
He was taken to Mackay Base Hospital with critical injuries and is understood to have undergone surgery there Tuesday night before being airlifted to Townsville Hospital by the Rural Flying Doctor Service.
On September 2, a 55-year-old Mackay woman had to be winched off the top of The Leap (Mt Mandurana) by RACQ CQ Rescue after she broke her ankle while hiking there.
Shiralee Evans, the owner of The Leap Hotel for the past eight years, said after two accidents in less than a month it was time for the authorities to take action.
"Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services need to fix the track, the track is unclear and is a hazard to people who haven't experienced the climb before," Mrs Evans said.
"Many people think it's a walk, which is a common misconception, because it's a really a climb where you have to go over four to five-foot boulders as well a couple of creeks," she said.
Tuesday's accident occurred late in the afternoon and Mrs Evans said far too many people were completing the climb in the later hours of the day.
"People who want to do the climb need to plan ahead and organise to do it earlier in the day.
"I've known a few young boys who've done it at night-time, which is extremely dangerous."
Despite the frightening accident, she doesn't think the track should be closed permanently.
"If it was closed for good we would lose plenty of business," she said. "The track is a massive part of our community but I would be happy if it was closed temporarily so authorities could fix it properly."
Accessibility is also a concern.
"There's barely any parking at the end of Westlake Drive, it's essentially a dead end" Mrs Evans said.