Aircrewman Brent Malden and the RACQ LifeFlight rescue helicopter at Bundaberg Airport.
Aircrewman Brent Malden and the RACQ LifeFlight rescue helicopter at Bundaberg Airport. Mike Knott BUN100719RACQ3

LifeFlight missions soar as crews call for a doctor onboard

THE 2018-19 financial year has been a busy one for the Bundaberg RACQ LifeFlight rescue helicopter crew after recording the most missions in their 22-year history.

The last 12 months alone has seen 298 lifesaving missions in the Wide Bay region with cardiac conditions and car crashes the most common call-outs.

Coming at no cost to patients, the airlifts are valued at $3.2 million.

Bundaberg base pilot Peter Marris the statistics can be seen as both a good and a bad thing.

"You could look at it as bad news because it means there's more happening and we're getting called out more often,” he said.

"But the fact we're here to respond to those incidents is good news.”

He said they have the resources to attend the increasing capacity of jobs they are called out to.

"We've got a great helicopter that can respond 24/7 even when the weather is bad and with night vision, we can go to most things,” he said.

"We've got a full complement of crews and a good pod of paramedics.

"It's not very often we can't go because of some other issue, it might be some unexpected or unscheduled maintenance problem or maybe really, really bad weather , but generally we can get to most scenes most of the time.”

Mr Marris said Bundaberg and Mount Isa were the only regions that don't have a doctor onboard their flights due to lack of funding and hoped there would be one soon.

Although, that will depend on the amount of funding from Queensland Health.

He shared his message to road users during peak times such as school holidays.

"We're never going to stop accidents completely,” he said.

"For anyone who is out on the road take that extra time, be a little more patient, don't be so impulsive - just take care and don't speed.”

Aircrewman Brent Malden has been with LifeFlight for nine years and said it was a very rewarding job.

"You pretty much have a direct response to someone's outcome,” he said.

"The most recent example of that was the young lad on Fraser Island with the dingo attack, even though we played a small part in that, if we didn't have the helicopter and capability of going there at night time things could have been different.”

RACQ spokeswoman Lauren Ritchie said the service is available for all Queenslanders.

"RACQ LifeFlight services can literally mean the difference between life and death - especially for motorists injured in car crashes,” she said.

"We're urging all drivers to remember the Fatal Five - ensure you're not drinking and driving, you've had enough rest, you're wearing your seat belt, put away distractions like phones and you're sticking to the speed limit each and every time you get behind the wheel.”



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