FORMAL SURVIVORS: Christie Hicks, of Broadwater, and Miles Pursey, of Bungawalbyn, were caught in the fray when a wharf collaps
FORMAL SURVIVORS: Christie Hicks, of Broadwater, and Miles Pursey, of Bungawalbyn, were caught in the fray when a wharf collaps

Year 12 photo shoot ends in disaster

By Jamie Brown jamie.brown@northernstar.com.au BROADWATER graduate Christie Hicks must have had a premonition about her Evans River K-12 year 12 school formal at Evans Head.

As she was being driven to the year-end social by her partner, Miles Pursey, she got the jitters and asked to be driven home again to re-do her face. "I didn't even want to go," she said.

But a few moments after arriving at the much-anticipated occasion, Christie found herself the centre of attention for all the wrong reasons.

A photographer organised the class to pose on the old Paddon family wharf, now leased from the NSW Department of Lands by the Woodburn-Evans Head RSL Club.

As the formal party clambered on to the timber wharf it began to creak and groan.

Several students called out in warning. But the young adults were told to bunch-up and pose for a picture.

"It all happened so quickly," recalled Miles. Without warning a hardwood beam snapped sending several of the party into the Evans River.

"Fortunately it was low tide," Christie said.

Not so fortunate was the fact her foot was trapped between planks, crushing the side of her foot.

Poor Miles ended up in the drink, sprawled on his back in his formal suit with water flowing over his shoulders.

Screaming in pain, Christie was hauled free of the tangle, while other students hobbled barefoot over sharp oyster shells and gathered their torn garments.

Miles' parents dashed back to their Bungawalbyn home to fetch another suit, but he was still draining water out of his shoes during the formal dinner at the RSL club.

Christie's injuries were attended to by ambulance paramedics, but she delayed going to Lismore Base Hospital for X-rays until after the dinner.

As it turned out her foot was badly bruised, but not broken. But she missed a night of dancing.

Other students, like Katelyn Venn, bravely danced through the night, despite bad oyster cuts to the soles of her feet.

And Eli Cook, who mended his torn pants with bobby pins, had to make do with a wet bottom all evening.

While most students are laughing off the event, some parents have expressed concern.

However, RSL club CEO Nev Graham says the wharf was never meant to hold a full class of students.

"If anyone had asked us we would have allowed them on the wharf in fours and sixes, but not all at once," he said.



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