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A British father and son have died after their family got caught in a landslide in Australia – with mother and a second son left in critical condition. 

The man, aged 49, and his nine-year-old son were pronounced dead at the scene of the landslip in the Blue Mountains, a popular tourist area to the west of Sydney, around 1.30pm on Monday.

The mother, aged 50, and her second son, 14, were airlifted to hospital in critical condition having suffered severe head and abdominal injuries. They had to be sedated and hooked up to breathing machines before being moved.

A 15-year-old girl, the couple’s daughter, miraculously escaped unhurt but was taken to hospital for shock – with rescuers saying she is ‘extremely distressed’. 

Police said all five were members of the same British family, who were on holiday in Australia when tragedy struck.

Paramedics were winched from a rescue helicopter down the cliff face as they searched for anyone who had been taken by moving debris

Paramedics were winched from a rescue helicopter down the cliff face as they searched for anyone who had been taken by moving debris

Paramedics were winched from a rescue helicopter down the cliff face as they searched for anyone who had been taken by moving debris

The accident took place at Wentworth Falls, an area of the Blue Mountains that is popular with hikers and families. A picnic area is located close by. 

Sydney and the surrounding areas have recently been hit by torrential rains that left areas including the falls severely flooded.

But conditions on Monday were good for walking an all trails had been open at the time of the accident.

Police are now investigating exactly how the slip took place, including whether the family were walking under an area of rock that collapsed on them or along a trail that fell into a gorge. 

It is unclear whether a member of the family or a passerby alerted emergency crews to the accident. 

NSW Police Detective Acting Superintendent John Nelson described the incident as ‘a tragic scene’. 

NSW Ambulance Acting Chief Superintendent Stewart Clarke said the two critical patients had ‘significant head and abdominal injuries’ and had to be sedated before they could be moved. 

The scene that greeted rescuers was ‘exceptionally confronting and heartbreaking’, he added. 

Rescuers had struggled to access the patients due to the remote location and treacherous terrain, with weeks of torrential rain across the region creating slippery conditions.  

Superintendent Clarke described the scene as an ‘extremely dangerous, unstable environment’.

A rescue operation  (pictured) is underway to air lift the critical patients out of the area for further medical treatment

A rescue operation  (pictured) is underway to air lift the critical patients out of the area for further medical treatment

A rescue operation  (pictured) is underway to air lift the critical patients out of the area for further medical treatment

Rescue efforts have been hampered by the treacherous terrain, which has been 'unstable' due to recent rainfall

Rescue efforts have been hampered by the treacherous terrain, which has been 'unstable' due to recent rainfall

Rescue efforts have been hampered by the treacherous terrain, which has been ‘unstable’ due to recent rainfall 

‘This was a really complex and delicate rescue operation for our crews who were working to access patients in rugged bushland and were navigating unstable ground,’ he said. 

Despite recent downpours, it is understood the part of the walking track where the tragedy occurred was open to the public.

Superintendent Clarke said the situation was devastating for everyone involved.

‘This is absolutely heartbreaking for all involved and a truly tragic ending to what I’m sure was meant to be a pleasant day out,’ he said.

‘It is terribly sad to have lost two lives here today and my heart goes out to the families and the survivors of this horrific ordeal who have witnessed what is certainly a traumatic event.’ 

Seven paramedic road crews including special operations paramedics and two rescue helicopters with a critical care doctor and a critical care paramedic on board were dispatched to the scene. 

The rescue operation also involved local police, Police Rescue, Fire and Rescue NSW, National Parks & Wildlife Services, Blue Mountains detectives, PolAir and rescue helicopters, 

Wentworth Pass Loop is a 5km bushwalking track through the Blue Mountains National Park.  

According to the NSW National Park Service website, the ‘challenging’ walk has a grade 4 difficulty, indicating it is very steep and bushwalking experience is recommended. 

Source: dailymail

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