NO EASY TASK: Emergency service crews rescuing a 45-year-old man who fell into the Richmond River at North Wall (also shown below right, during daylight), Ballina, on Tuesday night.
NO EASY TASK: Emergency service crews rescuing a 45-year-old man who fell into the Richmond River at North Wall (also shown below right, during daylight), Ballina, on Tuesday night. Surf Life Saving Far North Coast Cathy Adams

Man hurt in North Wall fall

A LOCAL man is being treated for spinal injuries in a Brisbane hospital after falling five metres from North Wall, Ballina, on Tuesday night.

The accident led to a dramatic two-hour rescue by emergency services who were forced to treat the man on dangerous rocks at the base of the wall during an incoming tide.

Multiple agencies including the SES, paramedics and Surf Life Saving Far North Coast were involved.

The 45-year-old man was walking with two friends about 100m west of the Marine Rescue Tower opposite Shaws Bay just before 8pm.

Ballina-Richmond Surf Life Saving duty officer Garry Meredith said the man fell into the Richmond River in deep water containing submerged rocks, and presumed he hit something as he fell or on impact.

His friends immediately came to his aid, pulling him from the water on to the rocks.

Emergency services converged on the scene shortly after 8pm as the tide was rapidly rising.

Initial plans to recover the semi-conscious man via the Ballina Jet Boat were aborted when his condition was assessed.

Mr Meredith described it as an "awkward" spot with large gaps between boulders with very limited space.

Paramedics managed to transfer the man to a hard plastic cocoon reserved for spinal injury patients while the SES secured the stretcher with ropes and hauled him up under floodlights.

The man was taken to Lismore Base Hospital after being stabilised at the scene, and was then later transferred to the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane.

He was in a stable condition yesterday afternoon.

Surf Life Saving Far North Coast spokesman Jimmy Keough praised the efforts of everyone involved in the rescue.

"It was a great team effort from all emergency responders on scene in what were very difficult circumstances," he said. "The assistance of the SES crews who provided additional lighting played a key role in allowing us to safely evacuate the patient."