Scared to death but holding on

from page 6 of The Sydney Morning Herald, May 2, 1996

[no by-line]

Wendy Scurr is a tour guide at Port Arthur and is a trained ambulance officer. She was about 50 metres away from the Broad Arrow Cafe in the information office when the shooting began.

  Somebody came out and said he is killing everybody. Run! One of our guides took a lot of people and ran. I saw another lot going in another direction.
  "I then saw two other people on the staff and we went into the information centre, knowing that was the only way that we could get outside help and knowing the isolation of Port Arthur, we knew it was going to take a while.
  "I went and made the phone call and was a little bit distressed that they might not believe me. But they did.
  "I just told them that there was a slaughter going on and that people were being killed everywhere and for God's sake get here.
  "Get as much help as you can here, as quick as you can. They asked me for a phone number where they could contact me and I said I won't be here and they told me to go and look after myself.
  "I got the other staff and we got a radio so that we could keep in contact with someone. After that we went up the back of the Broad Arrow and into the bush. The gunshots were still going on.
  "Other staff came running right behind us because we knew there was a fairly high cliff and we knew it would be hard for him to get up there and we waited.
  "We could hear the shots getting further and further away... We heard the last shots and then we knew we could start moving, that he was off the site.
  "Then we heard on the radio that he'd left his car and that he was on foot. That was the most frightening time of all, not knowing whether that man was going to come back on foot. We were so vulnerable.
  "We felt like rabbits in a hunt. We went back down into the Broad Arrow and at that stage I was unaware that relatives of the two staff members I was with had died.
  "We went inside. What could you do? Very little. Just took on the role of an ambulance officer... There were people in there who had lost families. They were very brave and they were helping me."
  Q: Can you describe what you saw in there?
  A: "I just can't. I just can't talk about it, I'm sorry. There were only three people alive in there when I arrived.
  "I felt so responsible because first aid is my job down there. And I knew where all the first aid kits were and all the bandages. I got people to help bandage some of the least injured. I kept airways open with tea towels. It was about half an hour before our local ambulance arrived and more than an hour before the helicopters came."
  "Some of the visitors then started to come in to help. I was lucky to have two surgeons on site who were visiting. They came in and started to help. Prior to that they were under cover in a house. When they realised it was safe to come out the came and helped.
  "I didn't think about what I had to do. I just ran around and did it. I found someone on the outside I could help. Bridgette, she was one of the bravest girls there. She was in charge of the restaurant. She ran out when the shooting began and ran back in to help her staff out. She was shot in the leg.
  "I saw one man come in, don't know who he was, he was making cups of tea handing them to people over the bodies. They were the little things I saw. The good things.
  "For the injuries that those people had, there was just so very little we could do. It was a matter of keeping the airways open and stopping what bleeding you could stop."
  Mr Paul Cooper, a tour guide at the site, was walking towards the Broad Arrow Cafe when the shooting began.
  He grabbed a first aid kit from the nearby Visitor Information Centre and entered the cafe when the gunman was still inside.
  "I was going the the Broad Arrow for some lunch and, like the rest of them, I heard some shots. A man ran out and said there were people being killed," he said.

[images: "The Broad Arrow Cafe" (14x9)
"Wendy Scurr... "We were so vulnerable."" (14x20) ]

[ Geniacs Humble Abode | Contact ]
Last Updated: 9:15pm, Saturday, April 4, 1998