Leg crushing harvest accident highlights dangers of mobile black spots


A Riverina farmer who lost his leg in a harvest accident in December is calling for improved phone reception after he and his wife struggled to communicate with emergency services. 

Aaron McCarthy from The Rock luckily had his phone in his pocket when the accident occurred but had limited reception. 

“I saw that it had at the top, emergency calls only, so I rung triple-0,” Mr McCarthy said. 

He was able to tourniquet his leg with his shirt and emergency services then called his wife, Tahnee.

“I was in the house and got a phone call and as soon as I left the house my emergency services call dropped out,” Ms McCarthy said. 

“The last thing I heard a lady say was ‘he might not respond, he’s in a bad way’.

A man with a bandaged, amputated leg gives the camera a thumbs up sitting in his hospital bed
Aaron McCarthy amazed emergency service workers by shaking their hands when they arrived.(Supplied: Kim Heffernan )

The father of two said they live only 30 kilometres from Wagga Wagga. 

“They’re trying to roll out 5G and we can’t even hold a 4G call near a regional centre — it’s ridiculous,” he said.

Following the accident a petition to Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has been started, calling for better reception at The Rock. 

Telstra regional general manager Chris Taylor said in a statement that 4G coverage was available at The Rock and surrounding region but a number of environmental factors can affect mobile coverage, such as terrain and the distance from the tower.

He stated any calls to triple-0 were automatically connected to any other working mobile base station in the area, regardless of carrier.

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