Australia — BURNS survivor Turia Pitt has posted a photo of the chopper pilot who rescued her, just hours after being awarded a reported multi-million dollar settlement against organisers of the ultra-marathon where she was left for dead.
Ms Pitt, 26, suffered burns to 64 per cent of her body after being trapped by a bushfire during the 2011 100km race in the remote Kimberley Region of WA. Her injuries were so severe doctors told her she might not make it.
Race organisers ignored reports of flames and smoke before the racers became trapped.
The confidential settlement was agreed with organisers Racing The Planet a Hong Kong-based company founded and run by former Sydney investment banker Mary Gadams in the NSW Supreme Court yesterday.
A short time later Pitt posted a photo of herself with partner Michael Hoskin and the caption: With the chopper pilot who rescued me…
Ms Pitt, from the south coast, launched the case after a damning WA parliamentary inquiry into the race and after Racing The Planet refused to pay her massive medical bills.
The inquiry heard that RTPs organisers in Hong Kong were hopelessly underprepared for the emergency that unfolded.
Organiser did not have proper satphones, resulting in communication black spots and WAs Fire and Emergency Services Authority said it was not notified of the race until it was too late, contradicting RTPs claims that all relevant services had given the necessary approvals.
The authority went so far as to say that in the middle of an above-average bushfire season, it would have had the race moved – or even cancelled – had it known about it.
Competitors were alerted to the dangers of snake bites and crocodiles but not bushfires, despite organisers knowing there were fires on or near the course.
Pitt lost her fingers and thumb on her right hand, spent five months in hospital and will require further operations.
However, with the support of her boyfriend, Michael Hoskin, Ms Pitt has fought her way back to fitness and now plans to walk the Great Wall of China for the Interplast charity.