top of page
Advertising - FN Telegraph Banner - 8455 (FN Partnerships Conference).png
Remote Cape York rangers awarded for saving child

[by Kerrie Hall]


Awardees with family and colleagues at ceremony in Bamaga. Image: NPARC.

On 6 January 2024 the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) received a Triple Zero (000) call to attend a reported drowning involving a one-year-old girl found unresponsive in the water at Somerset Bay, over 1000km north of Cairns.


The child was pulled from the water by a family member and brought to shore where Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council (NPARC) Apudthama Indigenous Ranger, Trevor Nona and Ipima Ikaya Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC (IIAC) Senior Ranger Frankie Cook, were nearby on the beach.


Trained in CPR, Frankie and Trevor leapt to action to save the young girl’s life, providing compressions for eight to ten minutes until the child began to cough and show signs of consciousness.


The two rangers carefully followed instructions provided over the phone by Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD) Lisa Zolnowski, who remained on the phone while help was being arranged. Meanwhile, QAS paramedic Karl Visser was responding with lights and sirens from the Bamaga Ambulance Station, which is located close to an hour away from Somerset Bay.


Rescue 700 was also proceeding by air from Horn Island with QAS Flight Critical Care Paramedic Gerard O’Brien on board. Once on scene, QAS paramedic Karl continued resuscitation measures, before Rescue 700 landed on the beach and Flight Critical Care Paramedic Gerard stabilised the girl for airlifting her to Thursday Island Hospital.


This week, both rangers were awarded certificates of appreciation from QAS senior management, who travelled to Bamaga on 4 July for the presentation. Without this incredible intervention from Frankie and Trevor, QAS Bamaga Officer in Charge Adam Marston said the child’s chance of survival would have been critically low.


“This case highlights the need for bystanders to instigate CPR as soon as possible prior to the ambulance arriving,” he said.


“Given the remoteness of Cape York, an ambulance can often be quite a distance from a scene.


“If the two rangers Frankie and Trevor didn’t commence CPR on that day, the child’s chances of survival would have been very slim, their actions undoubtedly saved her life.”


NPARC Chief Executive Officer Kate Gallaway commended the swift actions by the two CPR and First Aid-trained rangers.


In this remote region, we all need to be vigilant in skills training and especially advanced lifesaving techniques – it is the difference between life and death up here,” Ms Gallaway said.


Classified as OFFICIAL “Council is extremely proud of the local rangers, for their dedication and training, and the precious life saved for a thankful local family”.


Both Frankie and Trevor are traditional owners of Gudang Yadhaykenu and this recognition is well deserved and well earned, says IIAC Operations Manager Louisa Taylor Ahmat.


“Both these men are role models and true heroes and it takes real courage to do what they did. Given the remoteness of Somerset Bay from Bamaga, it could have been a very different outcome if early bystander CPR was not performed.”


QAS Far Northern Region Assistant Commissioner Brina Keating and QAS Deputy Commissioner North, Rural and Remote Kari Arbouin travelled into Bamaga to personally present Trevor and Frankie Certificates of Appreciation for their valiant efforts to save this young life. Assistant Commissioner Keating acknowledged just how remote these communities in the Torres Strait are, and why learning CPR and First Aid skills are so important.


“When tragedy strikes, it is crucial that members in our community know what to do in emergencies,” Assistant Commissioner Keating said.


“We are extremely proud to present Rangers Frankie Cook and Trevor Nona these certificates, and they should also feel a deep sense of pride knowing their early and skilled intervention has resulted in an incredible outcome for this young child and her family.”



NAIDOC Week 2024: celebrating loud and proud kids and families [Cate Kennedy] This NAIDOC Week (7-14 July), the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program is encouraging families to acknowledge the incredible history, achievements, and culture of First Nations Peoples and embrace this year’s theme: ‘Keep the Fire Burning! Blak, Loud and Proud’.


'Blak, Loud and Proud': NAIDOC Week Awards pay tribute to Indigenous trailblazers [Ciara Hain, SBS] The National NAIDOC Week awards have paid tribute to Indigenous trailblazers making life-changing contributions to their community. It's one of the biggest events on the calendar for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and has been held this year in Adelaide.


Queensland's Path to Treaty truth-telling will begin next month. But will it see out the year? [Baz Ruddick and Lily Nothling, ABC] Government officials took the only photos Florence Onus has of her grandparents — "mugshots" taken before they were forced off Country and onto an Aboriginal reserve.

bottom of page