One in three callouts for the Bundaberg RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter crew in the past year was to assist a person injured in a motor vehicle crash, a fall, or to conduct a search.
Recently released statistics for the 2021/2022 financial year, show Bundaberg rescue helicopter service came to the aid of 287 people.
The aircraft spent almost 400 hours flying, with the missions valued at approximately $7.2 million, but coming at no cost to patients.
Significantly, 30 of the missions were search, or search and rescue operations.
RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter operations general manager Brian Guthrie said it had been a busy year for the local crew, who had achieved some fantastic outcomes.
“The RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter at Bundaberg has faced a variety of tasks over the last 12 months,” he said.
“Primarily they do a lot of searches.
“Those searches have had some fantastic outcomes over the period and we’re really proud to be able to serve that community.”
Recently the crew assisted in a multi-agency operation at a South Burnett property and found an elderly man, who had been missing in freezing conditions overnight, trapped in a barbed wire fence and unable to free himself.
The Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) Flight Paramedic was winched down to assist him and he was ultimately reunited with his family.
During three weeks in June, the Bundaberg helicopter was tasked to six boating-related incidents.
In one rescue, two people were winched from the hull of their overturned boat off the Fraser Coast.
“There’s a lot of offshore searches and rescues that we are called to,” Brian said.
“Boats in distress are a common search that we are called to up in Bundaberg due to the location. We are able to respond to that and that’s part of our training is over-water searches.”
Bundaberg-based crews were also part of the massive response to recent flood emergencies, which devastated and cut off communities across huge areas of the state.
In the 2021/2022 financial year RACQ LifeFlight Rescue’s community helicopters, air ambulance jets, critical care doctors, flight nurses and flight paramedics came to the aid of 6825 people in total – a record financial year result.
For the Bundaberg chopper, responding to people injured in motor vehicle incidents or falls, were the top two reasons for tasking.
Top 5 Bundaberg patient injury and illness type:
- Motor vehicle accidents (32),
- Falls (32)
- Searches (30)
- Cardiac (29)
- Serious illness/infection (27)
RACQ spokesperson Tristan Vorias said it was frustrating to know motor vehicle crashes were still high on the list of call outs.
“It's incredibly disappointing to see crashes still in the top five reasons for call outs for the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Service,” Tristan said.
“We know that many of these crashes are caused by the ‘Fatal Five' and are avoidable and drivers need to be taking more responsibility for their behaviour behind the wheel.
“Our message to motorists, is to drive like your life depends on it – because it does.
“Already this year we've lost more than 150 lives on Queensland roads and tragically we are on track to surpass last year's road toll.”
A service agreement with the Queensland Government, the sponsorship of RACQ and innovative profit-for-purpose social enterprises all contribute to pay for this vital service, which is provided at no cost to patients, however, RACQ LifeFlight Rescue relies on the community to help make up nearly 30 per cent of funding each year.
To support the LifeFlight Foundation click here.
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