New mission statistics have revealed the Bundaberg RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter responded to nearly one motor vehicle-related incident each week last financial year.
In the 12 months between July 2020 and June 2021, Bundy crews flew 286 critical missions.
The airlifts are valued at more than $7.1 million, with each airlift's average cost estimated at $25,000.
RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Director of Helicopter Operations, Brian Guthrie, said the significant number is a credit to the highly skilled crews, who are on the clock 24/7.
“We're able to provide that high level of care, to anyone that needs it.
“It comes at no cost to the individual and they can call on us anywhere, any time.”
Overall, the 20/21 Financial Year was a record for RACQ LifeFlight Rescue’s community helicopters, with 2,113 flights completed throughout Queensland.
Across RACQ LifeFlight Rescue’s helicopters, Air Ambulance jets and Critical Care Doctors, 6,733 people were saved last financial year; another record for the service.
“We consider it due to, predominantly, population increase within Queensland and additional to that, a lot of people are holidaying at home, so we have a lot more people on the roads and out and about,” Mr Guthrie said.
Collectively, Bundaberg RACQ LifeFlight Rescue crews were in flight for 390 hours last financial year; the equivalent of flying non-stop for more than 16 full days.
The top five patient injury and illnesses, for the Bundaberg RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter, from July ’20- June ’21:
1) Motor vehicle accidents (49)
2) Falls (34)
3) Cardiac (27)
4) Serious illness/infection (25)
5) Search (22)
Nearly 20 per cent of flights were patients injured in motor vehicle crashes.
RACQ spokesperson Clare Hunter said the rescue chopper service is a huge part of Queensland’s DNA, when it comes to getting help to those who need it.
“The work that RACQ LifeFlight Rescue crews do is literally lifesaving.
“If they weren’t able to get to these crashes in time, then sadly our road toll would be even more horrific than it already is.”
That includes a mission in February this year, when a Bundaberg RACQ LifeFlight Rescue crew airlifted a seriously injured truck driver to hospital after he was involved in a rollover.
Days later, the chopper was called to the North Burnett, when an elderly man reportedly lost control of his vehicle, causing it to roll and hit a tree.
“We are so grateful for the support of the crews on those lifesaving missions, but we really wish they didn’t need to attend so many of these crashes, particularly as we’re seeing such a horrific road toll, already this year,” Mr Hunter said.
Last financial year, Bundaberg crews completed the most searches out of all of RACQ LifeFlight Rescue’s bases.
Two stranded boaties were assisted by the Bundy chopper, off the coast of Gladstone, in February, when their vessel started taking on water.
At the end of 2020, the Bundaberg RACQ LifeFlight Rescue crew located and helped with the ultimate rescue of a man, whose boat had broken down approximately 50km off the coast.
“We consider RACQ LifeFlight Rescue a vital piece of infrastructure, within Queensland,” Mr Guthrie said.