Stawell police rescue Sydneysiders stranded in the Grampians

Stawell police Sergeant Simon Grant is pictured at his desk where he communicated with a Sydney couple who became stranded in the Grampians on Monday. A phone application allowed the pair to email him screenshots of their position and GPS coordinates. Picture: BEN KIMBER

Stawell police Sergeant Simon Grant is pictured at his desk where he communicated with a Sydney couple who became stranded in the Grampians on Monday. A phone application allowed the pair to email him screenshots of their position and GPS coordinates. Picture: BEN KIMBER

TEXTBOOKS went out the window when Stawell Police responded to a call for help from a Sydney couple stranded in the Grampians on Monday evening.

Modern day means, more specifically a navigation application on a mobile phone was used to track the couple's location and ensure they were found safe and well.

The 56-year-old man and 43-year-old woman, who had hired a four-wheel drive were travelling on Carter's Track Zumsteins between Mt Difficult Road and Roses Gap Road when trouble struck.

The pair called triple zero at about 6.30pm to notify emergency services that they had become stranded on the track due to the conditions of the area.

Reluctant to carry the tag of a hero in the dramatic rescue, Stawell Police Sergeant Simon Grant made contact with the pair, but was initially unable to establish their location.

"I was able to make contact with them via their mobile phone," Sgt Grant said.

"Fortunately where they had become stranded was a fairly elevated position and they had, I wouldn't say good reception, but they had some reception," he said.

"As a result of initial conversations we were led to believe they were on a different track, Chinaman track.

"If I was going to be basing my search on just where they had told me, I would have been maybe five to six kilometres in a different direction."

Assisted by constable Max Mudge the members gave the pair instructions about how to download a navigation application to their mobile phone.

"Just in our discussions it was suggested that the woman try and find the GPS (Global Positioning System) coordinates on her phone. She has been able to download an application because she had enough service, which is quite amazing up there," he said.

"There is very little radio service with our police radios, let alone mobile phones."

Once downloaded the couple emailed the sergeant screen shots of their position, GPS coordinates and a picture of where they were on the particular track.

An image of the rugged terrain that was emailed through to Sgt Grant by the stranded Sydney couple.

An image of the rugged terrain that was emailed through to Sgt Grant by the stranded Sydney couple.

The couple was able to send through the GPS coordinates of their location once they had downloaded the app.

The couple was able to send through the GPS coordinates of their location once they had downloaded the app.

"From that and our maps here at the station I was able to pinpoint where they were," Sgt Grant said.

"We acquired a police four-wheel drive and headed up there, we were close as far as daylight was concerned.

"If we hadn't have got moving we would have been doing it in the dark and that wouldn't have been a good thing."

Sgt Grant has described the journey to reach the couple as a 'fairly hairy trip'.

"We came in from the other side to where they had come from on Carter's Track which is closed off from the east side of the Grampians but we had access so we were able to get to the summit," he said.

"Constable Mudge walked about 60 metres down the track and found them with their vehicle.

"They were relieved, very happy, in good spirits, healthy and fit. They'd had water and a few snacks with them so they weren't in any trouble in that respect.

"They had secured the vehicle and walked back up to where the police four-wheel drive was and we were able to get them out of there."

Sgt Grant said he has been in a few search and rescues, but none that ran as smoothly as this one.

"If there are any messages with this, if you get stuck or stranded, stay with your vehicle and certainly stay where you have phone reception because they didn't know which track they were on and they didn't know the conditions forward of them," he said.

"They knew going backwards was a fairly arduous slog and from what they told me they were pretty lucky to have got as far as they had in their hired four-wheel drive.

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