Family’s plea after camp accident
THE parents of a teenage boy in hospital after an accident on a high ropes course during a school camp have asked for people to pray for their son.
Connor Petterson, 14, a Marist College Ashgrove student is in a critical but stable condition at the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital with head and neck injuries after the incident at Woodford, north of Brisbane, Wednesday morning.
In a short statement released by the hospital Thursday afternoon, his mother and father said: "Our son, who was involved in an accident while on a school camp on Wednesday, remains in hospital and is receiving the best of care.
"Prayers for our son and our family would be greatly appreciated. We ask that everyone respects our family and friends' privacy at this time."
Connor, who is in the hospital's intensive care unit, was among Year 9 students who left Marist College on Tuesday for the Adventure Alternatives camping site.
His parents' statement comes after Adventure Alternatives managing director Todd Samorowski said he was "absolutely devastated" after the accident but defended his site's professionalism and safety, before issuing a second statement that left out comments referring to the site's conduct.
In the initial statement on Facebook Thursday morning, Mr Samorowski described the incident as "a freak accident" that had nothing to do with the campsite's equipment or staff competency.
"All of us at Adventure Alternatives are absolutely devastated by this incident," Mr Samorowski said.
"Our primary concern right now is for Connor, his family, the school community and our own staff involved in this incident.
"This was an unforeseen incident ... It had nothing to do with the misuse or failure of any safety equipment, instructional or participant error.
"This incident also had nothing to do with our continued level of safety, our professionalism or the safety of any of the activities we run and will continue to run in the future."
A second statement released Thursday afternoon made no reference to the site's safety.
In the second statement Mr Samorowski said it was "far too early to speculate" on why the incident occurred.
"But please know we are determined to understand the causes fully and will do whatever is required to prevent something like this occurring again," he said.
"We have been, and will continue to work closely with the authorities to provide them with all the information they require."
Marist College Ashgrove cancelled the remainder of the four-day Year 9 camp and is offering counselling to students.
Connor was flown to hospital after becoming entangled in ropes. Workplace Health and Safety Queensland officers are investigating.
In an email sent to parents and guardians following the accident, Marist College wrote: At this time details of the accident are still coming to light and we will advise you of more details as we are made aware.
"We ask that you please keep the family in your prayers at this time."
Education Minister Grace Grace said the incident had touched parents and families around the state.
"This must have been a terribly traumatic experience for all involved," she said in a statement.
Ms Grace stressed any recommendations from the investigation would be implemented promptly.
"The safety of Queensland students is always paramount and we will leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of how and why this incident occurred," she said.
Adventure Alternatives' website states it is an award-winning camp facility.
The website says the camp aims to "inspire individuals to drive their own learning, to challenge their concept of the norm, their comfort zone, their beliefs of others' and their own ability" through outdoor education.
It says the camping site has "a detailed risk management plan for each of the activities and locations that we run".
"All of our staff hold remote first aid certificates and a first aid kit is carried by all instructors, vehicles and base camp. Everything we do is carried out as per our staff manuals to ensure everybody's safety," the website says.