Man reunited with rescuers

A GROUP of local firefighters have been reunited with a former farm worker whom they rescued after an horrific accident on a Cohuna district dairy farm.

A young French man had caught his left hand in an auger and a rescue team from Cohuna Urban Fire Brigade released his arm in a delicate operation.

The accident occured on April 30 at a farm about 10 kilometres from Cohuna.

The man was treated at the scene by paramedics during and after his release and his condition stabilised before he was transferred by helicopter ambulance to the Alfred Hospital trauma centre in Melbourne in a critical condition. 

Brigade captain, Mathew Trigg said that on arrival at the farm, the rescue team found a young French man who was working for the owners as a farm hand.

"The young man had got his left hand caught in an auger," he said.

The multi-agency response including Ambulance Victoria, Country Fire Authority, Victoria Police and Victoria State Emergency Service worked to free the young man.

"The incident exemplified the skills and qualities of the Cohuna brigade to work with ambulance paramedics initially whilst other teams were still responding.

"Fire brigade members worked to remove the auger from the male in an extremely delicate operation utilising rescue equipment," he said.

"Despite the very tricky and delicate operation, the brigade extricated the man with his arm intact within 25 minutes of arrival...

"Unfortunately, the [medical] team at the Alfred couldn't save the man's arm and it was subsequently amputated just below the elbow," he said.

Captain Trigg said that firefighters who helped save his life were delighted to be reunited with the young man, his mother and his sister, who visited Cohuna to pass on their thanks.

He said although the young man had lost his left arm, he was extremely thankful to the brigade, the Country Fire Authority, other agencies who assisted, and he wanted to thank his rescuers, as well as give an update on his recovery and rehabilitation.

"All available brigade members made the special effort to meet the man and exchange stories and reflect on a very complex incident that again brought out the very best in everyone on scene," he said.

"In true CFA form, the brigade donated a custom-made Cohuna Fire Brigade vest to the man and wished him and his family all the best for their future".

Cohuna has responded to two industrial rescues in the last six months, both of which have been very technical and unique. Due to the level of training both incidents have resulted in positive outcomes, Captain Trigg said.

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