Toowoomba’s RACQ LifeFlight Rescue and LifeFlight Surat Gas Aeromedical Service crews have recorded the highest number of aeromedical missions in Queensland, completing 959 missions – a 46 per cent increase on the previous year.
RACQ LifeFlight Rescue and LifeFlight Surat Gas Aeromedical Service (SGAS) helicopters are based at the Clive Berghofer LifeFlight Centre in Roma.
The two chopper crews clocked up 1397 mission flying hours and serviced a vast area, from the Darling Downs to interstate.
They were tasked to respond to a wide range of requests including searches, mountain winch rescues, motor vehicle accidents – and even another helicopter after it crashed into a dam while fire-bombing in the Scenic Rim Region.
The RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Critical Care Doctor and the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) Flight Paramedic treated the fire-bomber pilot for minor injuries before he was airlifted to Toowoomba Hospital for further treatment.
In June a mother and daughter were rescued after getting lost in the bush for two days near Nanango after going prospecting.
An injured horse rider was airlifted by the SGAS chopper in July. In the same month two hikers were winched from the Scenic Rim, while a woman was rescued after falling while hiking at Carnarvon Gorge.
And it was the SGAS chopper crew who earlier this month saved the life of a 21-year-old woman who was bitten by an eastern brown snake that had slithered under her doona while she was sleeping.
LifeFlight Australia Chief Operations Officer Lee Schofield, said the high number and diverse nature of the rescues demonstrated the importance of the service and its impact on communities.
“The sheer volume and complexity of the missions just goes to show how indispensable LifeFlight’s aeromedical service is in the Darling Downs Region,” he said.
“Often our crews are called on in the middle of the night to airlift patients in remote and precarious places and transport them safely to hospitals.
“I am incredibly proud of our staff and their efforts to deliver world class emergency care and I thank them for their work in what has been a record year of activity for the organisation.”
Roma LifeFlight SGAS aeromedical crews completed 72 missions, with motor vehicle incidents the number one reason for the chopper to be tasked.
The Toowoomba aircraft was tasked 48 times to the scene of serious on and off-road vehicle incidents.
As part of its commitment to the South-West Region, 150 flying hours are donated each year by SGAS to assure community aeromedical services are covered.
LifeFlight continues to invest in the region, opening the $3.4 million Lee Family and Australian Country Choice LifeFlight Centre Roma base – home to Roma’s LifeFlight SGAS helicopter and crew.
Since its inception 44 years ago LifeFlight Australia has helped rescue more than 81,000 people.