A MAN has survived after becoming tightly wedged inside a boulder at Mt Arapiles for about 10 hours overnight on Monday.
The NSW man, 24, became stuck in the rock crevice, known as the Squeeze Test, about 10pm on Monday.
Victoria Police, Country Fire Authority and State Emergency Service crews, along with Arapiles Rescue Group members, freed the man about 8am on Tuesday after several unsuccessful attempts throughout the night.
Heavy rain at times hampered the rescue effort.
Rescuers tried oil and considered using a jackhammer to release the man, before using ropes and two broad fire hoses to lift and manoeuvre him to freedom.
The man, in obvious pain, was under constant medical care during the 10-hour operation.
Ambulance Victoria Wimmera group manager Nick Thresher said it was impossible for emergency crews to accurately assess or access the interior of the Squeeze Test.
A thermal imaging camera was used to check for injuries, pressure points and the victim’s position.
Mr Thresher said an Advanced Life Support crew, a Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance single responder, three intensive care flight paramedics and an Advanced Life Support flight paramedic were involved in the rescue.
“The only option was to work with other emergency services to come up with a plan,’’ he said.
“Specialists from Victoria Police Search and Rescue Squad, along with other emergency service representatives, came up with a pulley system.
“He was actually raised into a position where he could be extricated from the crevice.’’
Paramedics, in communication with doctors at The Alfred hospital in Melbourne, feared the man could have suffered a life-threatening condition, crush syndrome.
The syndrome can result in major toxic shock and renal failure.
Mr Thresher said an ambulance took the man to Horsham Aerodrome when he was freed. He was then air-lifted to the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
The man suffered minor abrasions and hypothermia and was in a stable condition last night.
Victoria Police Search and Rescue Sergeant Scott Dower said it was a team effort to free the man.
“He tried to get out himself and that resulted in him getting jammed further into the rock,’’ he said.
“Unfortunately, he got in a position where he was unable to help himself out and he needed to have quite a bit of assistance.
“He was probably reasonably fortunate in these circumstances.’’
It is the second rescue from the Squeeze Test in the past three years.