An elderly Australian man is lucky to be alive after reportedly suffering a heart attack while attempting the severely frowned upon climb of Uluru yesterday.

Emergency services at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park had to be called up the sacred Indigenous site at around 3pm yesterday after receiving reports the 64-year-old man fell ill around 3/4 of the way up the climb.

St John Ambulance officials confirmed first responders at the site were called to the man who collapsed on the rock, with other climbers on the rock reportedly administering CPR within 5 minutes of him falling ill. Bystanders responding to the incident included two off-duty policemen from NSW, two paramedics from Tasmania, and two miners from Western Australia. A portable defibrillator was reportedly used to shock the man’s heart back into a “survivable rhythm.”

Fellow tourists were halted while paramedics transported the ill man back down Uluru on a stretcher. Royal Flying Doctors Service officials flew the man to from a clinic in Yulara to hospital in Alice Springs for treatment last night. He was subsequently flown to Adelaide earlier today.

Climbing Uluru remains technically legal, however Indigenous elders have strongly discouraged it for eons owing to Uluru’s spiritual significance for the local Pitjantjatjara Anangu people. Signs urging tourists to respectfully consider not climbing the site have been in place at the base of the rock since 1992, but have only served as a mild deterrent.

38 people have died while climbing Uluru since records began being kept, with the last fatality occurring in July 2018 when a 76-year-old Japanese tourist collapsed and died mid-climb.

A formal ban on climbing Uluru will take effect from October 26th of this year, to mark the 34th anniversary of the site’s handback to its traditional land owners.

Source: The NT News
Image: Getty Images / Mark Kolbe