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Mining teams learn to survive in the bush

A bush survival instructor says he's doing more training with exploration and mining teams than ever before.

Bob Cooper says most of these workers have generally come from urban areas and have little idea of how to survive in the outback if something goes wrong.

He says that 70 per cent of people who get lost in the bush are Australians, not foreign tourists, and that's because as a country we've lost the self reliance for which we were once renowned.

"Australian's and ANZAC's were renowned for their self reliance.

"We were the people that you could go to. We could swim, we could light a fire, we could fix a car, we could mend a fence.

"We're losing those kind of skills, and particularly survival skills."

Mr Cooper has written a book "Outback Survival' and hopes those heading to the bush to work give the issue thought before a problem occurs.

"I think it's paramount, because they go out to areas where people aren't. They go remote, and remote in Australia is remote," he said.

"There is no rescue team. There are no choppers that can fly out there, there's no landing strips for light aircraft.

"And if the batteries go flat on things, you really need to be able to survive."

Bob Cooper has trained the SAS as well as Texas Rangers in survival skills, included in that is snake handling.

He says when it comes to snakes, the biggest issue is that people panic, but panic is something the workers on the Koolan Island iron ore mine no longer do when they see a snake.

Koolan island is off the far north west Kimberley coast of Western Australia.

It's full of snakes, many of them venomous, and Simon Sandover of Mt Gibson Iron Ore says many workers are now competent snake handlers.

"There's a very wide range of poisonous snakes on Koolan Island, including the coastal taipan and the banded tree snake.

"I think the most significant part, I think, with Bob's training (snake handling) which is absolutely fantastic, is that it takes any of the fear of the snake away.

"Once you've removed the fear than you can approach the snake if necessary in a quiet, methodical manner.

"The snake's not upset. You're not upset, so you just quietly move it away."

Audio

Bush survival and mining companies
Babs McHugh speaks with Bob Cooper, survival expert, about his new book Outback Survival. Also Simon Sandover, Mt Gibson Iron Ore, about snake handling training his company does with Bob.

Babs McHugh speaks with Bob Cooper


Bush survival book
Babs McHugh speaks with bush survivalist Bob Cooper and Simon Sandover, Mt Gibson Iron Ore.

Babs McHugh speaks with Bob Cooper


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