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Local News - Victoria

Three dead, six rescued in Victorian water tragedies at Bushrangers Bay, Venus Bay and Rye


Police said an off-duty lifeguard pulled the woman from the water and started CPR but could not revive her. Victoria Police said late on Wednesday they would probe the death and send findings to the coroner.

In the first drowning, police confirmed a man in his 80s was pulled from the water at Tootgarook about 4pm on Wednesday, but he was unable to be revived.

Several helicopters were deployed to a dramatic scene at Bushrangers Bay at Cape Schanck on the Mornington Peninsula where two men had jumped into the water trying to rescue a group of four women and girls who were swept into the sea by a large wave.

Victoria Police confirmed a 45-year-old woman, a 47-year-old woman, a 19-year-old woman and a 13-year-old girl were swept into the sea about 3.30pm. They were followed by two men, aged 28 and 47, who entered the water to assist the group of four in distress.

Multiple helicopters from Victoria Police, Life Saving Victoria and Air Ambulance scoured the water for the six people, alongside water police and local lifesavers.

All were pulled from the water, including the deceased 45-year-old woman.

The same spot where the group of four were washed away, according to an eyewitness.

The same spot where the group of four were washed away, according to an eyewitness.

A witness, who did not wish to be named, told The Age two men jumped in after the group to help.

“They climbed to the rock, then [a] big wave came, and swept them off into the water,” they said.

The witness said the waves crashing against the rocks were large at the time of the incident.

Life Saving Victoria’s General Manager of Lifesaving Services Liam Krige said crews arrived on scene about 4pm and began winching two of the people to a nearby headland, where they were met by paramedics.

Air Ambulance and other emergency services on scene on Wednesday.

Air Ambulance and other emergency services on scene on Wednesday.Credit:Nine News Melbourne

Only two people could be transported at a time due to the capacity of the helicopter, he said.

“In the interim, an LSV lifeguard paddled to two of the remaining swimmers, keeping them afloat on their rescue board while the helicopter crews continued the winching operation,” he said.

“At around 4.30pm, Air Ambulance also arrived on scene and commenced winching a further person from the water.

“Shortly after, Police Air Wing and Water Police arrived on scene by boat and collected the final two swimmers, the LSV lifeguard and a bystander who had entered the water to assist.”

Aerial footage from the scene on Wednesday.

Aerial footage from the scene on Wednesday.Credit:Nine News Melbourne

Paramedics transported the five survivors to hospital: four to Frankston Hospital and one to Rosebud Hospital.

Frankston hospital was treating the 47-year-old woman who was reported to be in a serious but stable condition on Wednesday night, along with the 19-year-old woman and a 13-year-old girl.

Life Saving Victoria’s Mr Kriger said he and his staff’s thoughts were with those affected by the tragedy.

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“This incident is a stark reminder of the importance of always exercising caution around water and never taking your eyes off the surf,” he said. “Many people who are rescued never planned on entering the water.”

“Even when you don’t intend on swimming, you should never underestimate the power of the ocean.

“Bushrangers Bay is an unpatrolled beach located at a remote stretch of coastline, making it difficult for emergency services to access if you get into trouble.”

The beach is known for its dangerous conditions.

Bushrangers Bay is not patrolled by Life Saving Victoria, according to beachsafe.org.au.

The service describes the 300m beach as “moderately safe” for swimming when waves are low.

“However stay on the bar and clear of the rocks, and rips against the rocks,” the advice reads.

In January 2019, Melbourne musician Jjay De Melo drowned while swimming with a friend at Bushrangers Bay.

In 2017 seven people were swept off the rocks by a large wave, with one man airlifted to hospital in a critical condition.

On the back of a record number of drownings last year, the Victorian government launched a campaign targeting the two most at-risk groups – younger males from non-English speaking backgrounds with limited water skills and “complacent” middle-aged men.

Venus Bay drowning

At Venus Bay south-east of Melbourne, police said a teenage girl was seen struggling in the water about 7.30pm and a number of people entered the water to help her. One of those, a woman in her 20s, got into trouble herself.

The woman was pulled from the water by an off duty lifeguard and she was given CPR but couldn’t be revived.

All others involved in the incident came out of the water unharmed, including the teen who had initially been in distress.

Police will prepare reports for the coroner for all three deaths.

Meanwhile, police are investigating after a three-year-old girl was pulled unconscious from Lysterfield Lake about 5.50pm on Wednesday. Emergency Services worked on the girl and she was revived. She was transferred to the Royal Children’s Hospital and remained in a critical condition on Thursday morning.

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Man and dog rescued after yacht crashes into rocks on NSW coast


A skipper and his little dog Chewy have been rescued after their yacht crashed into rocks on the far south coast of NSW yesterday.

He thanked the police for puling himself, his dog and his boat from the rocks in a video, saying he “thought it was a goner”.

“You’ve saved our home, both me and Chewy,” he said cuddling his dog.

Eden Water Police were called to Twofold Bay at Eden yesterday with reports a yacht had come into trouble at the rocks. The skipper, 54, and his dog were rescued by Marine Area Police and taken on-board a police vessel — the yacht was later towed away from the rocks.

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The skipper and Chewy were both brought ashore to dry off.

NSW Police said the yacht had suffered “structural damage”.

Eden is a small coastal town, about 478km south of Sydney — and is the most southerly town in NSW.

Twofold Bay has the third deepest natural harbour in the southern hemisphere, according to a local tourist guide. The bay is known to attract humpback whales.



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Local News - Victoria

Child rescued, residents forced to flee after fire engulfs third-storey apartment


“We’ll always keep you in our heart,” one wrote. “Rest in peace beautiful angel.”

Flowers left outside the flats on Sunday morning.

Flowers left outside the flats on Sunday morning. Credit:Simone Fox Koob

Another said: “Our lives and our hearts won’t be the same anymore.”

Mary Akoom told Nine News her son and Isaiah used to play together and she was in disbelief after the tragedy.

“He was a very happy boy … very wise. I miss him so much.”

Kevin Georgiadis, 52, tried to help the boy, telling The Age on Saturday he heard screaming outside the building just after midday and rushed outside to find a woman carrying a newborn, telling a crowd of onlookers that another boy was still inside her flat.

“She said, ‘the baby’s up there’… I thought, ‘how come no one’s going up?’ It didn’t look that bad,” he said.

The fire broke out in an apartment on the third floor.

The fire broke out in an apartment on the third floor. Credit:Simone Fox Koob

“When I got in there it was just black. As soon as I got in there, [the fire] started to pop off … I went in as far as the kitchen and the lounge room. I couldn’t go any further.”

Mr Georgiadis, who suffers from emphysema, said he then ran back downstairs because he was struggling with smoke inhalation and told firefighters he believed there was another child in the apartment.

He told Nine News on Sunday that Isaiah was a “beautiful boy”.

Part of the low-rise public housing building, at the corner of Nicholson Street and Clauscen Street, remained cordoned off on Sunday.

More than 35 firefighters brought the fire under control within 20 minutes. The cause of the fire is not yet known. Police are investigating.

A child has died after a fire at a low-rise housing commission building on Saturday.

A child has died after a fire at a low-rise housing commission building on Saturday.Credit:Joe Armao

Firefighters were on scene four minutes after the alarm was raised. They also rescued a man from an upper-storey window ledge, who was calling for help as firefighters searched the rest of the building for trapped residents.

The man was brought down to ground level using a nine-metre ladder. No one else was injured.

A 25-year-old was also treated for smoke inhalation.

Residents were forced to flee the building after the third-storey apartment blaze.

Residents were forced to flee the building after the third-storey apartment blaze.Credit:Joe Armao

Witnesses drawn to the scene by the wailing sirens and thick smoke had their personal details taken for contact tracing purposes before they were asked to disperse.

with Paul Sakkal

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Local News - Victoria

Child rescued, residents forced to flee after fire engulfs third-storey apartment


Residents were forced to flee the building after the third-storey apartment erupted in flames soon after midday on Saturday.

A man was seen hanging out of a second-floor window calling for help as firefighters searched the low-rise housing commission building for trapped residents.

Paramedics treated at least one person for smoke inhalation.

Paramedics treated at least one person for smoke inhalation.Credit:Joe Armao

Many of the residents escorted from the building appeared to be elderly. A police spokesperson said all other residents were accounted for.

A local shopkeeper, who did not wish to be named, said he saw a firefighter sprint out of the burning building with a young child of about four years of age.

A 25-year-old was also treated for smoke inhalation.

A witness, who also did not want to give her name, said flames were seen leaping from the building moments before firefighters and police arrived.

Residents were forced to flee the building after the third-storey apartment blaze.

Residents were forced to flee the building after the third-storey apartment blaze.Credit:Joe Armao

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Fire Brigade said firefighters arrived on the scene to find a large amount of smoke billowing from the third floor.

“Two teams of firefighters entered the building wearing breathing apparatus. One team worked quickly to contain the fire while the other team of firefighters conducted a search of the building and apartments,” he said.

Witnesses drawn to the scene by the wailing sirens and thick smoke had their personal details taken for contact tracing purposes before they were asked to disperse.

The fire was declared under control within 20 minutes. The cause of the fire is not yet known.

Detectives from the Arson Squad will now investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident.

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Fishermen rescued after grim 6-day Bass Strait ordeal


In their broken down shark boat Veronica, they had won out after a grim, six-day battle against raging Bass Strait seas.

Late on Saturday night, after a desperate last signal for help had been sighted by Cape Otway Lighthouse, the 32-ft. Veronica was taken in tow by another fishing boat.

Yesterday morning the two crewmen, skipper Len Joseph, 32, and his mate Ron Oldfield, 34, stepped ashore at Apollo Bay, “back from the dead.”

The Veronica, bound for Portarlington and Geelong from Port McDonnell, South Australia, had been missing since Sunday, July 9, when it failed to arrive at its first port of call.

The engine had failed only two hours after sailing from Port McDonnell. Last Monday the men ran out of food. Although unable to transmit on the Veronica’s radio, they could hear news reports of the search for them.

An air and sea search during the week failed to find any trace of the Veronica. Wreckage washed up east of Nelson was thought likely to be from the missing vessel.

Len Joseph kept a log book which spells out the drama of the ordeal.

Rough seas began pounding the Veronica after the engine failure.

To keep the boat afloat, the men rigged a makeshift sail of blankets and an old overcoat.

Mr. Joseph recalled last night: “The only time I really lost hope was on Tuesday night when water started to pour in. But luckily we lived through it.”

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He said he put the log in a saucepan and sealed it.

“I thought if we went down it would be a mystery,” he went on. “People would be more likely to pick up a saucepan than a bottle on the beach.”

After zig-zagging around the coast looking for a landing-place, the two men reached a spot near the Cape Otway Lighthouse at 3.30 p.m. on Saturday.

Mr. Joseph sent an SOS with a torch but got no response. Then he repaired a rocket which had misfired. The lighthouse keeper saw it.

The call was flashed to the Cape Otway Fishermen’s Co-operative and within minutes dozens of fishermen were on their way.

Fifteen fishermen on board the Guyra, Invictus and Worraine, many of whom had stubbornly refused to believe the Veronica pair dead, put out to bring home their mates.

After battling seas swept by 80 mph winds, the Worraine finally reached the distressed Veronica about midnight on Saturday.

About six hours – and four broken tows – later the rescuing armada dropped the two men ashore.

Bleary-eyed and unshaven, the pair wolfed a meal of steak and eggs before being taken home to Portarlington.

Log book tells survival story

The Veronica’s log hook provides a graphic account of her crewmen’s fight to stay alive.

The entries in that log, made available exclusively to “The Age,” tell part of the dramatic story. The entries, day by day, were written by Len Joseph, who last night filled them out further.

SATURDAY, JULY 8: Departed for Portarlington and Geelong to deliver Veronica to new owner.

We were about two miles off Port McDonald, 35 miles north-south-east of Cape Northumberland, when we struck engine trouble. I carried out repairs but when I pressed the starter button nothing happened.

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SUNDAY, JULY 9: Dropped makeshift anchor but set adrift late Saturday night. Still drifting today.

Fresh winds sprung up offshore and we decided to make some type of sail. We got two old blankets and an overcoat and made a square sail.

MONDAY, JULY 10: Decided to make for Cape Bridgewater but the seas kept carrying us out.

At 10.30 a.m. we used the sail to the best advantage and decided to let her drift out to sea.

But on Monday night we were still drifting out to sea and were carried out into the strait.

The seas swept over us and we began taking on water.

I cut the bulwarks and the boat righted itself for the moment.

But we were out of food we had brought for the 30- hour voyage to Geelong and we had no cigarettes — the wind was pounding us and I thought the end was near. This may be our last entry.

TUESDAY, JULY 11: Battery still weak we are not able to transmit.

I listened to all news reports of the search for to but we saw no planes or boats searching.

I wanted to let everyone know we were all right but I had no means of communication.

WEDNESDAY, JULY I2: Within 10 miles of Port Fairy at 2 a.m. but strong north-westerly carried us out to sea again.

We began eating raw spuds became we did not have any gas left in the bottle to cook them.

We snared a crayfish pot and pulled up two leather-Jackets. Ron skinned them and we ate them raw. I don’t recommend raw leatherjackets.

Torch signal

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THURSDAY, JULY 13: At 1.30 p.m. we came away west and set course for Moonlight Head, near Cape Otway.

We decided to go ashore that night but could not pick up the shore.

We dropped our ballast for an anchor and waited for daybreak.

FRIDAY, JULY 14: We got her to go ashore but all we could see was cliffs.

We decided to head for Cape Otway.

SATURDAY, JULY I5: Off Cape Otway lighthouse at 3.30 p.m.

I sent an SOS with a torch but did not get any response.

I repaired a rocket which had misfired and that attracted the attention of the lighthouse keeper.

“I think he saw it,” I yelled to Ron.

Then about midnight the Worraine drew alongside us and I knew It was all over.

It’s the best beet I have ever seen and I even felt like kissing the owner, Mr. Fox.

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Climber rescued from rock cliff in Blue Mountains


A climber is being rescued from a rock cliff in the Blue Mountains after falling and breaking his bones earlier in the day.

Rescue crews are dangerously helping get the climber to safety at Point Pilcher lookout in Medlow Bath this evening.

He is wrapped in a thermal blanket, sitting on a 1m rock ledge, halfway down the 150m cliff face.

He was part of a group of three climbing the cliff.

A rescue helicopter is being used to winch the injured man to paramedics at the top of the cliff.

He is believed to have a “significant” arm injury.



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Local News - Victoria

Victorian bandicoots rescued from brink of extinction


The eastern barred bandicoot recovery team first released 20 of the animals onto Churchill Island in 2015 with those numbers now rising to 130.

Last year they released 55 bandicoots on French Island with total numbers now reaching an estimated 500 over the three sites.

The number of eastern barred bandicoots living in the wild has reached about 500 in Victoria now.

The number of eastern barred bandicoots living in the wild has reached about 500 in Victoria now.

Phillip Island has been declared fox free, sparing the bandicoots from the predators.

Foxes and habitat loss almost wiped out the bandicoots in Victoria more than 30 years ago.

The bandicoots survived only in mainland sanctuaries and captive breeding programs.

Phillip Island Nature Parks spokesman Roland Pick said the eradication of foxes had delivered major environmental benefits with the introduced predators previously attacking local wildlife, including penguins.

“They were hugely destructive for the penguin colony many years ago,” he said. “They can go through 20 or 30 penguins in a night.”

Since their reintroduction into the wild, the bandicoots have spread more than 4 kilometres from their original release site.

Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the species’ survival was a wonderful achievement and gave “this precious little Victorian a fighting chance at long-term survival.”

“With the devastating bushfires in January, it’s been a tough year for our native wildlife but this program is showing how hard work and perseverance can really make a difference,” she said.

“This is a huge step forward in securing this species from extinction and another example of the conservation work that continues behind the scenes while our favourite attractions remain closed.”

This summer’s fires had a devastating impact on other animals in parts of the state, including East Gippsland, that were severely burned.

A report released earlier this year showed that fire had burned more than 50 per cent of the known habitat for more than 170 of Victoria’s rare or threatened species.

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Children ‘rescued’, three Victorians arrested in alleged global child abuse ring bust


A child from Victoria is one of the four young people removed by authorities as part of the joint operation.

An Australian Federal Police spokesperson said US intelligence began uncovering suspicious activity in Australia in 2018 as part of a Homeland Security investigation into a website where users paid to access child abuse material.

The spokesperson said Australian police then partnered with international law enforcement, including investigators from Arizona, INTERPOL and EUROPOL, to share details of the website’s registered users.

Five Australian states and federal agents then launched the Australian-based Operation Walwa.

The Australian ambassador for US Homeland Security Investigations, Adam Parks, said the arrests came at a critical time.

“More so than ever, children are increasingly online for their schooling, to socialise with their friends and family, and to play games,” Mr Parks said.

“Let this be a warning that law enforcement is undeterred by COVID-19 and remains on duty to keep our children safe in Australia, the US, and online.”

One of the sites raided by authorities during  the investigation into registered users of the illict online marketplace.

One of the sites raided by authorities during the investigation into registered users of the illict online marketplace.Credit:AFP

Detective Acting Inspector Karen Bennett, of Victoria Police, said the effects these alleged crimes had on children, families and the wider community was devastating.

“These [alleged] crimes see people using significant established networks to share child abuse material and take advantage of vulnerable children. They have devastating impacts for victims and the wider community,” Inspector Bennett said.

“We will continue to develop and employ various investigative techniques which allow us to target people actively grooming and attempting to procure children, and accessing child abuse material.”

Officers from the United States Homeland Security triggered the Australian leg of the joint investigation.

Officers from the United States Homeland Security triggered the Australian leg of the joint investigation.Credit:AFP

Of the four children removed from alleged harm, three were from NSW and one from Victoria.

Those charged were five people from Queensland, four from Western Australia, three each from NSW and Victoria and one from South Australia. The arrests have occurred during the past year.

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Assistant Commissioner at AFP Lesa Gale, who oversees the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE), said the results were a timely reminder of the risks associated with children being online.

“This has been a long-running joint effort by law enforcement across Australia and we’re happy to see the results that can be achieved when resources are used together, particular in the current online environment,” she said.

The 61-year-old Echuca man has since been remanded in custody and is scheduled to reappear in court later this month.

The 41-year-old Kilmore man has been remanded to reappear in court in July. The 53-year-old Mount Waverley man has been released on bail.

Members of the public with information about people involved in the possession or sharing of child exploitation material are urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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Hundreds of Australians and Kiwis are rescued after fortnight of hell in coronavirus cruise ship


Up to 80 people flying into Melbourne TOMORROW could be infected with deadly COVID-19 after they were rescued from a coronavirus-plagued cruise ship in Uruguay

  • Uruguay has evacuated 112 residents back to Australia and New Zealand
  • The passengers had been trapped on the Greg Mortimer cruise ship for 2 weeks
  • Nearly 60 per cent of the 217 passengers have tested positive for COVID-19
  • Passengers will be sent home on a charter flight and be placed into quarantine 
  • Five Australians remain in hospital in Uruguay’s capital – Montevideo 
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

Dozens of people flying into Melbourne airport tomorrow could be infected with deadly coronavirus.  

Uruguay has evacuated 112 Australians and New Zealanders from a coronavirus-plagued cruise ship anchored off its coast for more than a fortnight.

Aurora Expeditions, the operator of the Greg Mortimer ship, has chartered an evacuation flight from the Uruguayan capital Montevideo.

It is scheduled to leave on Saturday morning local time and arrive in Melbourne on Sunday, with passengers to go into 14 days of isolation in a hotel.

Of the returning passengers around 70 per cent of people on board the flight could have coronavirus.

The ship’s operator confirmed this week 128 of 217 people on board, nearly 60 per cent, had tested positive for the coronavirus but all were asymptomatic.

‘Our priority remains getting everyone on board disembarked as soon and as safely as possible,’ an Aurora Expeditions spokesman said in a statement. 

Passengers from the Greg Mortimer Cruise Ship carry their luggage across the tarmac after being allowed off the ship for the first time in two weeks

Passengers from the Greg Mortimer Cruise Ship carry their luggage across the tarmac after being allowed off the ship for the first time in two weeks 

An ambulance waits by the Greg Mortimer cruise ship to take away sick passengers, including five Australians who have been hospitalised in Uruguay's capital - Montevideo

An ambulance waits by the Greg Mortimer cruise ship to take away sick passengers, including five Australians who have been hospitalised in Uruguay’s capital – Montevideo  

‘It has been a very harrowing time for all involved.’

However, the Foreign Affairs Department told AAP on Friday five Australians had been evacuated from the Greg Mortimer and hospitalised in Montevideo.

Uruguay had originally refused to let passengers off the cruise ship but later sent medical teams on board and monitored the situation via WhatsApp.

Most of the ill crew and passengers have mild symptoms and are stable, Uruguay public health ministry director-general Karina Rando said.

‘We have intensive care beds, doctors are available and we are not putting the care of our population at risk,’ Ms Rando told the Associated Press. 

Passengers celebrate the end to their cruise holiday which resulted in them being trapped for two weeks off the coast of Uruguay in South America

A passenger is handed a Uruguayan flag after disembarking the Greg Mortimer Cruise Ship in Uruguay ahead of their return to Australia and New Zealand

Passengers are checked by healthcare workers as they disembark the Greg Mortimer Cruise Ship in Uruguay 

An ambulance drives away after picking up sick passengers off the Greg Mortimer cruise ship

An ambulance drives away after picking up sick passengers off the Greg Mortimer cruise ship

The Greg Mortimer departed on March 15 on a voyage to Antarctica and South Georgia but has been docked off the coast of Montevideo since March 27

The Greg Mortimer departed on March 15 on a voyage to Antarctica and South Georgia but has been docked off the coast of Montevideo since March 27

‘We have the logistical and professional capacity to serve these people.’

A sign hanging from a balcony on the ship said ‘Thank you, Uruguay’.

The Greg Mortimer departed on March 15 on a voyage to Antarctica and South Georgia but has been docked off the coast of Montevideo since March 27.

The evacuated passengers, comprising 96 Australians and 16 New Zealanders, will be repatriated using a ‘humanitarian corridor’ with strict biosecurity measures. 

The Uruguay government has evacuated 112 passengers from New Zealand and Australia who were stuck on the Greg Mortimer cruise ship for more than a fortnight

The Uruguay government has evacuated 112 passengers from New Zealand and Australia who were stuck on the Greg Mortimer cruise ship for more than a fortnight

Passengers display a sign saying 'Thank you Uruguay' using a bedsheet from the cruise ship

Passengers display a sign saying ‘Thank you Uruguay’ using a bedsheet from the cruise ship

They will be driven in four buses to Montevideo’s Carrasco airport escorted by police and have their luggage disinfected prior to boarding.

A refitted plane operated by charter airline Hi Fly will take them to Melbourne. 

Medical personnel would also accompany them on the repatriation flight, with the company footing the bill for the journey under insurance.

‘The plane will be set up into risk zones, with passengers seated by test results and level of care required by the passenger,’ Aurora Expeditions said.

The NZ government plans to reach out to its citizens directly to organise a transfer upon arrival in Australia, Aurora Expeditions said.

More than 280,000 Australians have returned home in recent weeks, with about 6200 of them disembarking from 45 cruise ships around the world.

An Airbus A340 waits on the tarmac to conduct a repatriation flight. The flight will land in Melbourne on Sunday

An Airbus A340 waits on the tarmac to conduct a repatriation flight. The flight will land in Melbourne on Sunday

Passengers are seen boarding the plane after being evacuated from the cruise ship in the darkness

Passengers are seen boarding the plane after being evacuated from the cruise ship in the darkness

A healthy passengers boards the plane back to Australia after two weeks trapped on the Greg Mortimer cruise ship

A healthy passengers boards the plane back to Australia after two weeks trapped on the Greg Mortimer cruise ship

 

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Local News - Victoria

Roosters rescued after police bust alleged Victorian cockfighting ring


Seven inspectors, two vets and an animal attendant from the RSPCA were involved in the raid, as well as representatives from Macedon Ranges Shire Council, Brimbank City Council and local police.

Cockfighting is illegal in Australia, as is the possession of any equipment designed for cockfighting.

Allowing or encouraging an animal to fight with another animal is an offence which carries up to two years in jail, or fines of up to $82,610. Attending an event where animals are encouraged to fight with other animals can also carry fines of up to $19,826.

The RSPCA says roosters used in cockfighting are specifically bred for this purpose and are trained to be extremely aggressive towards other roosters, and can involve painful procedures which are often undertaken without pain relief.

RSPCA Victoria Inspectorate team leader Karen Collier condemned the practice.

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“While all those involved in this investigation were pleased with the outcome, it is a shocking reality that cockfighting, a barbaric activity, continues to operate in Victoria,” she said.

The director of assets and operations at Macedon Ranges Shire Council, Shane Walden, said the council played a key role in identifying and providing intelligence that led to the execution of the RSPCA’s warrants.

“Cockfighting is an abhorrent and cruel activity leading to severe suffering of the roosters involved,” he said.

“Council takes a zero tolerance approach to animal fighting and works closely with RSPCA and Victoria Police to stamp out any identified cruelty to animals.”

The council will continue to investigate the conditions and structures at the property, he added.

In November last year, more than 100 roosters, hens and chicks were removed from two Victorian properties after a probe into illegal cockfighting.

The properties in Melbourne’s west were raided in early November. Inspectors found about half the birds had been allegedly mutilated and trained to fight each other wearing spurs.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report to www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.

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