On this day …….. 2nd of August 1997
After three days Stuart Diver is pulled alive from the rubble of the collapsed Thredbo resorts.
For three days after the collapse of the Alpine Way in Australia’s high country in 1997 (see July 30), Stuart Diver, 27, lay trapped between two concrete slabs, under mud, rubble and snow. The rescue operation was made all the more dangerous by the instability of the debris and the land. Heavy rain, melting snow and landfill had resulted in 2000 square metres of liquefied soil rushing down the mountainside. 1350 volunteers and specialists in rescue operations worked in shifts around the clock to clear the rubble and find survivors. The focus changed for the rescue workers when Stuart Diver was found alive. Michael Featherstone, 52, was the paramedic who stayed beside Diver through the twelve hour rescue ordeal. Diver had been buried for 66 hours, and was suffering severe hypothermia and poor circulation. Internal injuries had caused his body to release toxins into his bloodstream, and workers had to ensure that each step of the rescue was taken slowly and carefully: even moving Diver from a prone to vertical position was delicate and life-threatening as it could have caused a toxic shock. When Diver was finally lifted from his concrete and rubble prison on 2 August 1997, a resounding cheer rang across the mountainside, and probably also from the tens of thousands of Australian viewers who had been watching the rescue on television.