SEVENTEEN MacKillop Catholic College students and their teacher are recovering today after being rescued from the Blackwood River near Augusta yesterday afternoon.
The group was canoeing from Molloy Caravan Park to Augusta at about 12.30pm on a school camp, when two of the canoes capsized as squally conditions moved through Hardy Inlet, causing four students to be tipped into the water.
MacKillop principal Chris Wallace said the teacher stepped in to rescue the students and made the call to Augusta Volunteer Sea Search and Rescue Group, who activated their volunteer group and advised Water Police of the emergency.
Seven volunteers and were able to safely bring all 18 people to shore, where they were met by Augusta Police and an ambulance.
The 17 students were taken to Augusta Hospital in police, ambulance and rescues vehicles, with three of the students suffering minor hyperthermia, and one girl suffering asthma complications.
She received urgent medical treatment on arrival at the hospital.
The incident occurred on the final day of the students’ three-day camp, and Mr Wallace said there would be no lasting effects.
“It was a freak accident, we were following our risk management plan and we are fortunate to have qualified staff.
“It was more precautionary than anything else, all students were released from hospital without issue and a large amount of them are back at school today.
He also said this would not affect the ability to run similar camps in future.
“The camps are very popular and the feedback I have received is that parents would be more worried if we didn’t continue with them.
“The students acted brilliantly, the camp was at the end of a semester’s training in the course and they responded with what they had learnt well.