Wollongbar police operation: TAFE students are ordered to stay indoors as emergency incident unfolds
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  • Police negotiators currently engaging with person at their property
  • Wollongbar TAFE has ordered students to stay indoors
  • Nearby primary school also in a ‘silent lockdown’ 

A TAFE has gone into lockdown and a police helicopter has been spotted flying low above a rural property where negotiators are talking to a person who may be armed. 

Emergency responders were called to a concern for welfare at a private property in Wollongbar, between Lismore and Alstonville, in NSW, at 8am on Thursday. 

Staff and students at the nearby TAFE have been ordered to stay indoors as a precaution while the ‘high risk’ incident unfolds. 

Police negotiators and officers from the Tactical Operations Unit are on-location attempting to talk to the person who is understood to be armed. 

Local residents in Wollongbar have also been ordered to shelter in place for the time being. 

A TAFE has gone into lockdown and a police helicopter has been spotted flying low above a rural property where negotiators are talking to a person who may be armed

A TAFE has gone into lockdown and a police helicopter has been spotted flying low above a rural property where negotiators are talking to a person who may be armed

Staff and students at the Wollongbar TAFE have been ordered to stay indoors as a precaution while the 'high risk' incident unfolds

Staff and students at the Wollongbar TAFE have been ordered to stay indoors as a precaution while the ‘high risk’ incident unfolds

A NSW Police spokesperson said there was no ongoing risk to the public. 

‘Officers from Richmond Police District remain at the scene – with assistance from PolAir, police negotiators, and the Tactical Operations Unit,’ the spokesman said. 

‘As a result of the ongoing operation, the Bruxner Hwy is closed in both directions between Sneaths Road and McLeans Ridges Road.’ 

The closure of the Bruxner Highway has sparked lengthy traffic delays and motorists have been urged to avoid the area.

Police have also blocked the entrance of the TAFE campus for anyone looking to enter or exit. 

Kim Honan, a student who is currently taking shelter inside the TAFE, has said that a rescue was arranged for another student who had been locked in their car.

‘Wollongbar TAFE staff just arranged to rescue a student who’d been locked in her car in the carpark for the last hour. She’s now in lockdown with me,’ she wrote on X.

‘She sat down and broke down in tears, absolutely relieved to be safe.’

Ms Honan added that discussions are currently taking place regarding evacuating the entire TAFE campus. 

Kim Honan, a student who is currently taking shelter inside the TAFE, has said that she is still in lockdown and that a student needed to be rescued from her car

Kim Honan, a student who is currently taking shelter inside the TAFE, has said that she is still in lockdown and that a student needed to be rescued from her car

Wollongbar Public School has also entered a ‘silent lockdown’, according to relieving principal Ben Barker.

‘Please be reassured that while there is a significant police operation underway 2km from the school, our school site is safe – our children are happy and continuing with their learning,’ Mr Barker wrote in a brief statement to parents and guardians,’ Mr Barker wrote in an email to parents. 

‘Our school is outside the police lockdown zone, however as a proactive precaution, Wollongbar PS is operating under a silent lockdown [and] our site is being very tightly managed at this time.

‘These are the times you learn how valuable your emergency planning and systems are.’

More to come 



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