Peter Mitchell of Lennox Head lost the end of two fingers in a boating accident when his hand became entangled in a crap pot rope that was suspended from a Ballina bridge.
Peter Mitchell of Lennox Head lost the end of two fingers in a boating accident when his hand became entangled in a crap pot rope that was suspended from a Ballina bridge. Patrick Gorbunovs

Crab pot lines caught Peter's fingers

UPDATE, 2pm: BALLINA Shire council will not be installing signs on Prospect Bridge warning people it is illegal to fish from the bridge.

Civil Services Group manager John Truman said council had not received specific details of the incident involving Lennox Head recreational fisherman Peter Mitchell and the loss of the top of two of his fingers on February 16.

Mr Truman said until council received details of the incident from Mr Mitchell it was not possible to assess Council liability, if any.

"We have discussed the incident with our insurer and undertaken a risk assessment," he said.

"Based on the information currently available to us we do not believe it is necessary to install signage or change the management arrangements for the bridge"

"We will continue to monitor this and review our position should the situation change in the future."

 

6am: A LENNOX Head man who had the top of two fingers amputated after they were caught in rope attached to a crab trap is calling for stricter regulations on illegal fishing practices.

Peter Mitchell was slowly motoring back toward a boat ramp in North Creek on the Richmond River at Ballina on February 16, when his fingers became tangled in thin rope that was anchoring a crab trap to Prospect Bridge.

While steering with his left hand, Mr Mitchell said he had his right hand holding onto the side of the boat and a fishing rod he was using to trawl a lure, when the rope hit the front of the boat and tangled in his ring and small finger.

"I got my middle finger out which only got a small cut, but it took the top off my ring finger down to the base of the nail and took all the flesh out from beneath my nail on my little finger, just leaving the nail there," he said.

"The top of my ring finger just popped off and as far as I know it went in the water."

After getting his boat on the trailer with some assistance while in excruciating pain, Mr Mitchell went to Ballina hospital and was transferred to Lismore Base hospital for amputation surgery.

"I was taken to Lismore Base hospital where the ends of my two fingers were removed down to the first knuckle."

Mr Mitchell spent five weeks healing and recently returned to work, and fishing.

He said if a Jet Ski rider got one of the ropes attached to the bridge tangled around their neck they could be decapitated.

Mr Mitchell said he had approached to the Roads and Maritime Services and council about why there were no signs on the bridge warning that fishing from the bridge was illegal.

Ballina Shire council civil services group manager John Truman said the Prospect Bridge was owned by council and he will investigate issues raised by Mr Mitchell.



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