Bundaberg RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter crews have clocked up a busy year of helping people injured in motor vehicle incidents, contributing to a record 12 months for LifeFlight Australia.
In 2021, the local helicopter came to the aid of 46 people injured in a wide range of crashes, including those involving both motorists and motorcyclists, both on and off road.
This was an increase, from the 38 motor vehicle crashes the crews were called to in 2020.
“It just shows how vital our service is to remote and regional Queenslanders,” RACQ LifeFlight Rescue General Manager of Operations Brian Guthrie said.
“Our crews are able to respond quickly, fly to a hospital helipad and get a critical patient straight into an emergency department or an ICU.”
It wasn’t only crashes keeping the Bundaberg crews on their toes, with falls, searches, serious illnesses and infections also making up large proportions of the 285 missions the chopper was tasked on.
“These missions add up to cost approximately $7.1 million and they come at no cost to the patients,” Mr Guthrie said.
One of the taskings which highlighted the agility of the team, was the winch of an injured fisherman, who had fallen on rocks, at a headland in the Gladstone region, in November.
LifeFlight 2021 statistics
The top five patient injury and illness types in 2021 for the Bundaberg RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter were:
1. Motor vehicle accidents (46)
2. Falls (33)
3. Serious illness/infection (29)
4. Search (26)
5. Abdominal (25) and cardiac (25)
The service’s long term naming rights sponsor, RACQ, is urging drivers to put safety first, to reduce the number of serious accidents on roads in the region.
“Last year 274 people lost their lives on Queensland roads, that’s thousands of lives changed forever, families and communities torn apart,” RACQ spokesperson Kate Leonard-Jones said.
“RACQ LifeFlight Rescue does an incredible job, but we don’t want drivers meeting the crew because of a crash.
“It’s very simple, people need to remember the Fatal Five when they get behind the wheel.
“Wear a seatbelt, don’t speed, don’t drive if you’re tired or affected by drugs or alcohol and don’t be distracted.”
In 2021 RACQ LifeFlight Rescue’s combined fleet of community helicopters, Air Ambulance jets and Critical Care Doctors performed 6846 missions – a record in the history of the aeromedical rescue service.
RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopters across the state performed 2062 missions.
The service is funded by a combination of a service agreement with the Queensland Government, community fundraising, the sponsorship of RACQ and profit-for-purpose enterprises.
“The continuing demand on the service highlights how important it is that the community’s generosity keeps coming,” Mr Guthrie said.