The instant a happy snap became a mountain rescue

Stevie Burscough says she's keen to tackle Mt Walsh again.
Stevie Burscough says she's keen to tackle Mt Walsh again. Crystal Jones

ON A sunny day in March, Stevie Burscough and three of her best friends decided to do something different by climbing Mt Walsh.

The team set out ready to tackle the popular hiking spot 100km from Bundaberg.

"I was climbing Mt Walsh, I think it was a Sunday afternoon," Miss Burscough said.

MORE PHOTOS: How the rescue unfolded

"It was the first time we'd ever climbed it and we got to the top and didn't realise it was going to be as difficult as it was.

"When we got to the very top we were taking all these photos."

Miss Burscough, 28,  said they'd seen Taylor Swift's jumping photos and wanted to do something similar.

"We thought that would be really cool so we were practising with jumps but never got to take them," she said.

That was the moment everything changed in an instant.

"My ankle gave way and my body slammed sideways," Miss Burscough said.

The moment Stevie Burscough came down on a rough piece of rock and damaged her ankle.
The moment Stevie Burscough came down on a rough piece of rock and damaged her ankle.

"As soon as I looked at it, it was just so swollen.

"I ended up with a bruise on my hip the size of Australia."

Unable to walk, Miss Burscough and her friends knew they'd need to send for help.

"We googled Mt Walsh and there was a phone number for a ranger," she said.

"He goes 'we'll ring the SES and see if we can find a way down'.

Then things just got worse.

"We thought 'oh no, the rain's coming'," Miss Burscough said as dark clouds settled over the mountain.

"It started to rain so he rang back and said it's not safe enough for the SES to do that kind of rescue," she said.

To add to the drama, the only rescue chopper that could deal with a mountain rescue was in Brisbane.

"Because the helicopter had to come to Brisbane we had to wait a little while for it to get there," Miss Burscough said.

Paramedics secure Stevie Burscough.
Paramedics secure Stevie Burscough.

Once the chopper arrived, rescuers were let down near Miss Burscough to find out what had happened.

"It was so loud we couldn't hear what they were saying then the helicopter left so they could hear what was going on," Miss Burscough said.

"By the time they got to the mountain there was an ambulance officer who had climbed the mountain - as soon as they got there she arrived and I think she was on a day off too.

"I think I was in a little bit of shock, it was like I was in a movie - this just doesn't happen."

The rescue effort began.

"They laid me down in the basket and winched me into the helicopter," Miss Burscough said.

"When we called them, they said 'just make sure she doesn't eat or drink anything' and I just had some biscuits and juice and didn't think it was that much to eat but when they were winching me up I understood why they said not to eat anything - when they were winching me up it was like my stomach was going up and down."

"The helicopter was too big to land at the hospital so they had to drop me at the airport and get an ambulance to the hospital."

Stevie Burscough damaged ligaments in her ankle.
Stevie Burscough damaged ligaments in her ankle.

Miss Burscough said with the wind from the chopper and being on the mountain she'd been covered in dirt.

"I could feel the dirt in my mouth and everything," she said.

"The hospital assessed me and it wasn't broken so that was good.

"I ruptured a couple of ligaments and frayed a couple of others."

Miss Burscough, who works in admin at the hospital and also as a personal trainer, said the recovery stage had put a temporary halt to her active lifestyle.

"I was in a moon boot for ages," she said.

Miss Burscough said when finally getting back to netball she had to get used to working with her foot after months of not using it.

"I had to build up the connection again," she said.

Stevie Burscough is slowly returning to her physical activities like netball and personal training.
Stevie Burscough is slowly returning to her physical activities like netball and personal training.

"The biggest test for me will be when I take my pump and step classes."

As enthusiastic as ever, Miss Burscough said she wouldn't let the incident put her off doing the climb again.

"We're planning on doing it again, but I want to wait until I'm strong enough to do it," she said.

"At least I can say I climbed up a mountain but didn't have to climb back down one."

Topics:  editors picks mt walsh taylor swift

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