A back-packing West Midlands firefighter has coordinated the rescue of a woman who fell 40 metres into the crater of an active volcano.

John Conway

John Conway, who’s based at Highgate Community Fire Station in Birmingham, was on a sunrise trek to the top of Mount Batur on the Indonesian island of Bali when the early-morning drama unfolded.

The firefighter, who turned 33 during his solo holiday, was recovering from the ascent and preparing for the spectacular views, when he heard that the woman had somehow fallen from a viewing platform into the crater.

Speaking from the island, from where he’s due to fly back from, John said: “I explained I was a firefighter and trauma-trained, and I was directed down into the crater where there were about four or five other people already with the woman.

“She was clearly in a very bad way. She was bleeding a lot and turning blue. I found out there was no air ambulance and the first aid supplies were really poor. All I had to use were some wet wipes, tissues and tape.”

John worked for around 30 minutes to stem the casualty’s bleeding, before he was joined in the crater by a nurse who was also on the trek. He also asked people to take off their shirts and coats to keep the casualty warm, and he kept pinching her arm to keep her conscious.

Other trekkers then helped to form a human chain and, using a stretcher which someone had fetched from further down the volcano, they began nearly an hour’s effort to raise the injured woman from the crater.

John returned to duty at Highgate Community Fire Station in Birmingham today (Friday, 23 Feb). You can read more about his heroics here.


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