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Optus outage: Carer's desperate act after being unable to call Triple-0 for help

The Optus outage began at 4am on Wednesday, but the company's CEO says they still don't know the 'root cause'.

The Optus outage — one of the biggest Australia has ever seen — forced a carer to run out into the middle of a Melbourne street on Wednesday morning and beg to borrow a phone from a stranger after one of their patients went into cardiac arrest.

Up to 10 million customers have been impacted and hospitals, businesses and transport networks have been thrown into chaos. Just hours after the outage began at 4am, a carer explained how it has impacted health services so far, admitting he struggled calling for an ambulance for a patient in need.

File image shows a paramedic moving equipment outside St. Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne. Source: AAP
File image shows a paramedic moving equipment outside St Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne. Source: AAP (AAPIMAGE)

“One of my patients had a cardiac arrest, I couldn’t call an ambulance,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne. “I had to run out on the street and borrow a phone from someone walking his dog.”

Paramedics unable to call back

According to the publication, the Victorian Ambulance Union said the nationwide Optus outage is preventing emergency services from being able to call patients back.

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A number of hospitals across the country have also been impacted, including phone lines into Melbourne’s Northern Hospital Epping and Broadmeadows Hospital, and Sydney cancer treatment centre Chris O’Brien Lifehouse.

“To contact a patient, please use their personal mobile number during the outage period,” Chris O’Brien Lifehouse posted on its Instagram. “Please limit calls to URGENT matters only. This helps us prioritise essential tasks during this outage.”

A Optus service message is displayed on a phone outside an Optus store on October 05, 2022 in Sydney, Australia.
Last year, the identification details of 9.8 million customers of the Telecommunications operator Optus were stolen in a data breach. Source: Getty Images (Getty Images)

Optus urges customer to avoid calling Triple-0

Optus has urged its customers not to attempt to contact emergency services from one of their lines, as it will not work.

“We encourage any customers who need to contact emergency services to use a mobile line to call 000,” an Optus spokesperson said. “Optus can confirm that triple zero (”000”) calls will not work from an Optus landline (fixed line telephone). Mobile calls to 000 will work if another carrier is available.

“Our teams are working to restore services as soon as possible. We will provide an update as soon as we are able. We are currently working to identify the cause and apologise for any inconvenience.”

A Home Affairs department spokesperson said they have received “no indication that this is a cyber incident” but the nature of the outage is under ongoing investigation.

Optus CEO: Haven't identified 'root cause'

Optus chief executive officer Kelly Bayer Rosmarin has sparked backlash for comments she made to ABC Radio Sydney on Wednesday morning during an interview via WhatsApp.

Rosmarin told host Sarah Macdonald she didn’t “have more information to give at this stage".

“The team has tried a number of parts of restoration and so far we have not had the results that we have hoped for. And we’re pursuing every avenue to get everybody back online as soon as possible,” she said.

When asked if the team working on the outage know how it was caused, the CEO admitted they had not “identified a root cause” but would update everybody as soon as they could.

“We had a number of hypotheses and each one so far that we’ve tested and put in place has not resolved the fundamental issue,” she said, adding there is “no indication” it was the result of a hack.

Optus CEO under fire for comments

Rosmarin’s has been criticised for her comments online, with one annoyed Aussie labelling her a “total embarrassment” in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“She sounded like a random defensive person off the street,” they continued. “She couldn’t even understand simple questions.”

Another called her “a total clown”. X has also been flooded with posts from angry Optus customers who say they have been stranded because of down train lines and the inability to use their phone to book an Uber.

“How do we arrange with our children for them to get home from school this afternoon?” one man said. “Some of us have medical appointments and vulnerable family members,” another person commented.

with NCA NewsWire

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Yahoo Australia