Backpacker hostel left shaken after frightening rampage
A FRIGHTENING "rampage" at Yamba's YHA Backpackers Hostel overnight has resulted in the arrest of a Queensland man.
According to police, an intruder began smashing in a window to one of the hostel's rooms after he accessed the building's first floor ledge around 12.40am this morning.
The female occupants of a dorm were woken by the noise and alerted the night manager, who phoned police whilst the man continued to damage windows.
It is alleged by police that the man then used a fire hose to assault male backpackers who came to assist.
When the night manager, a 63-year-old woman, came out of her flat, he rushed at her and forced the door open, causing her to fall to the ground.
She then ran out and gathered the backpackers into a safe location until police arrived.
A search of the building resulted in the alleged intruder being located in a pool upstairs, holding his breath underwater.
The 24-year-old man from Camp Hill was arrested and taken to Grafton Hospital for treatment to a cut on his leg.
Yamba YHA's Kelly Henwood confirmed the man was not a resident of the hostel, but said he had been carrying around a pillow and associating with backpackers in the common area of the building after he allegedly broke in through an unoccupied room.
"It was quite scary but everything was handled really well," she said.
"There's lots of damage to windows and screens but the main thing is no one was hurt."
Coffs/Clarence crime manager Detective Inspector Darren Jameson said the alleged offender had since been charged with break and enter, malicious damage and assault and was bail refused to appear in Grafton Local Court today.
It is believed alcohol may have been a factor in the incident.
"We were quite concerned about the welfare of the occupants as it would have been a frightening experience, but it was a great job by the night manager to have the foresight to gather the tenants together and get them to a safe locaiton," Det Insp Jamson said.
The crime manager added that while backpacker-related incidents were extremely scarce, there were always risks where a lot of people were residing in a small space.
"That's why it's important to ensure personal safety protocols are in place," he said.
"If you follow a few basic rules you should be alright."