Telstra offers apology to family of Victorian who died during triple zero outage
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Telstra has apologised after nearly 150 triple-zero calls were unable to be transferred to emergency services this morning following a national outage.

The telco’s chief executive Vicki Brady confirmed at least 148 calls were unable to be transferred, including a call from the family of a person who suffered a cardiac arrest.

The Victorian died before an ambulance could reach them, but it’s not known whether the delay contributed to the death.

Nearly 150 triple-zero calls were unable to be transferred to emergency services this morning. (Nine)

The outage meant Telstra operators could answer calls but not redirect them to the triple-zero call centre between 3.30am and 5am.

Close to 500 calls were made nationally to triple zero operators during that time, with at least 148 calls unable to be transferred over the 90 minutes.

“We suffered a technical incident this morning which resulted in some calls to our triple-zero service not being able to be transferred to emergency services,” Brady said.

“We have been advised that one of those calls involved a person who had suffered a cardiac arrest, and sadly that person subsequently passed away.”

The chief executive offered her “deepest apology” to the family and said any delay was unacceptable.

“At this stage, we’re in the very early stages of the investigation,” Brady said.

“I haven’t yet had a chance, and it’s not appropriate yet to reach out to that family, but clearly we don’t yet understand how much the delay was and how much that impacted.”

Telstra chief executive Vicki Brady addressed media today. (Nine)

Ambulance Union secretary Danny Hill said he had also received reports of the death.

“We have spoken to some people who have knowledge of a case where a patient sadly passed away,” Hill said.

“The crews were nearby and would have been able to get a quick response time had they been dispatched straight away but there was a delay in the dispatch.

“That’s led to a significant delay in the person getting care. Whether that’s a factor in the patient’s survival, we will never know.

“What we do know is that they don’t get the best chance, they are robbed of their best chance of survival when they don’t get an ambulance straight away.”

The outage was fixed within 90 minutes. (Jason South)

Telstra operators were forced to answer the emergency calls during the outage and email details over to triple zero workers, according to Hill.

“It’s dangerous and alarming and what is concerning is that it doesn’t seem there was a decent backup system to step in,” he said.

“We feel for the Telstra workers, they aren’t trained to take emergency calls, they would have been tasked with doing that suddenly and emailing those details to the emergency control room.

“That’s not good for them, for the patient and the emergency services.”

A Telstra spokesperson earlier said investigations were ongoing into what caused the problem and said they would continue to closely monitor the system.

“Telstra’s specialist triple zero call takers are the first ones to answer a call for help to triple zero, and then transfer the call to the right state emergency service operator,” the spokesperson said.

“An issue early this morning affected calls and associated data being transferred to emergency service operators.

“Our team of call takers switched to our backup process, which meant the details of callers were sent manually to emergency services to be called back.

“We worked urgently to fix the issue and remained in contact with the emergency service operators throughout.”

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