Crews from the Bundaberg RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter assist patient on Fraser Island.
Crews from the Bundaberg RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter assist patient on Fraser Island.

REVEALED: Biggest emergency missions faced by rescue chopper

Bundaberg's RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter crews have revealed the biggest reason for responding to emergency missions in 2020.

Director of helicopter operations Brian Guthrie said while it wasn't the busiest year for the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue choppers, he was proud of the performance of crews over the last 12 months.

"Our Bundaberg crews flew to 38 motor vehicle accidents, between January and December 2020," Mr Guthrie said.

"On average, that is three motor vehicle incidents a month which are so serious, they require an aeromedical response."

Crews from the Bundaberg RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter assist patient on Fraser Island.
Crews from the Bundaberg RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter assist patient on Fraser Island.

Last year, 291 critical missions were executed by Bundaberg crews, costing more than $7.2 million and at no cost to patients.

Of the 291 call-outs, there were 38 motor vehicle incidents, 32 cardiac conditions, 31 falls, 28 search and rescues and 17 animal related incidents including bites and falls.

Statewide, rescue crews responded to a total of 278 motor vehicle crashes, with RACQ spokeswoman Clare Hunter revealing this figure was up almost 15% in comparison to 2019.

"Sadly, last year we also saw the highest road toll on Queensland roads since 2012 and also saw an increase in risky behaviours like high-range drink driving, high-range speeding and not wearing seatbelts," Ms Hunter said.

"RACQ LifeFlight Rescue crews do an amazing job, but we don't want drivers meeting them because they've had a crash.

"In 2021 we're urging drivers to make a commitment to avoiding the Fatal Five every time they get behind the wheel. That means not speeding, driving tired or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, putting away distractions like mobile phones and wearing a seatbelt."

Four men were rescued last year by the Bundaberg RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter, after their catamaran capsized.
Four men were rescued last year by the Bundaberg RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter, after their catamaran capsized.

In addition to roadside incidents, Bundaberg rescue crews performed the highest number of search and rescues last year.

This includes four men who were capsized in a catamaran in November, as well as one woman who spent three nights on Fraser Island in September.

Crews attended seven missions to assist snake bite victims and two separate incidents after a shark attack occurred.

A critical care paramedic sits with a missing woman who was later found by Bundaberg's RACQ LifeFlight Rescue team.
A critical care paramedic sits with a missing woman who was later found by Bundaberg's RACQ LifeFlight Rescue team.

"The service RACQ LifeFlight Rescue provides, in Queensland, is second-to-none," Mr Guthrie said.

"Nearly 2,000 lives were saved, by our rotary aircraft across Queensland, because RACQ LifeFlight Rescue crews were able to quickly respond.

"24/7, 365 days a year, RACQ LifeFlight Rescue are ready to provide the best care possible, should the worst happen."

Overall, the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue team completed almost 2000 missions with crews from air ambulance jets and rescue choppers assisting 6186 patients.



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