Second family mourning a loved one after 000 breakdown

Colin Gray died a week after the 000 breakdown.
Colin Gray died a week after the 000 breakdown.

A SECOND family is reeling from the death of a loved one after home alert systems across the region failed users during the Australia Day long weekend 000 breakdown.

Yvonne Smith said her father Colin George Gray, 81, had a heart attack at home on January 27 and tried to use his alert button to contact 000.

She said her father called her landline in a panic when the button failed.

"I tried to press the button when I got there but nothing happened," she said.

"I rang 000 and got a voice recording that said 'refer to the White Pages' but no specific number."

Ms Smith said she drove her father to hospital and it was at least an hour between his first attempt to use the button and when he was treated.

X-rays showed Mr Gray had only 20% heart function and he died at home a week later, she said.

Mr Gray is the second known person to die after home alert systems failed over the long weekend.

Fay Craigie, 75, was found unconscious on the floor of her Proserpine home covered in blood, bruises and pressure sores up to 12 hours after she tried to use her system to contact 000.

"If we'd gotten an ambulance there immediately maybe he'd still be alive," Mrs Smith said.

"To make things worse three days after he went to hospital the home alert company called at 4am asking if he'd tried to use the button."

Member for Dawson George Christensen said he was "distressed and disturbed" to hear of the second death.

"I am scheduled to meet with a Telstra representative next Tuesday and I have a long list of questions for them."

A Telstra spokesperson said the company did not want to release any further comments at this time.

The spokesperson previously said the extent and force of the Queensland floods caused "unprecedented damage" to a main fibre-optic cable and back-up cable 100km away.



AN OZCARE spokesman has defended his company's lack of service for 24-hour Carelink Medical Alarms during the Telstra 000 breakdown on the Australia Day long weekend.

The spokesman said if Telstra failed, the home alert systems also failed.

"Those devices do rely on communication lines, absolutely, and when people are provided with them they do get provided with information on the need for Telstra lines to be up," he said.

The spokesman said Ozcare staff had spoken to Yvonne Smith, whose father died after attempting to use his alert button, when she returned his Carelink Medical Alarm and felt no need to make any further statements.

The company did not have statistics on how many people tried to use the alarms in Queensland during the Telstra communication breakdown or how many people use the alarms on average each day, he said.

Topics:  death heart attack telstra triple zero

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