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.
- Injured farmer struggled to communicate with emergency services due to poor phone reception
- The young father lost his leg in a harvest accident in December
- He is now back home and hopes to be farming as normal within 12 months
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’.
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.
Strength and determination
Mr McCarthy surprised first responders by keeping such a level head that he was able to shake their hands and introduce himself when they arrived on the scene.
He was quickly airlifted to hospital in Canberra where he underwent surgery.
Tahnee flew with him and said he remained conscious the entire time.
Aiming to be back farming within a year
Now home with his family, Aaron hoped to be back farming as normal within 12 months.
“Adjusting to home life has been a challenge, not being able to do the things I used to do, but we’re slowly learning how to get through it all.
“Hopefully we can get a prosthetic sorted soon.”
Outpouring of community support
The family said the community support has been overwhelming.
A Go Fund Me page set up by a family friend raised more than $50,000, a neighbour finished off his harvest and his employer organised grain donations.
Tahnee and Aaron McCarthy said despite the challenges ahead, they were both looking positively at the future.
“You’ve just got to have a smile on your face every day and go for it,” Mr McCarthy said.