Community helicopters fly 42 missions in seven days

RACQ CareFlight Rescue helicopters have averaged six missions a day over the past week to deliver aero-medical care across southern Queensland.

“Normally we average three to four missions a day across our bases,” CareFlight Coordination Centre Manager Brian Guthrie said.

“So to say that we’re busy is an understatement.

“But we go where the need is, and we have the capacity to have helicopters from all four bases flying missions simultaneously.”

Last week that need extended north to Agnes Water to pick up a boy injured in a trail bike crash, east to Fraser Island for a diving accident and west to Mungindi on the New South Wales border, 175 kilometres south west of Goondiwindi, for a teenage girl who had a horse fall.

“The crews spent a total of 115 hours completing missions last week – an average of more than 16 hours a day,” Mr Guthrie said.

“The Mungindi mission alone was a 660 kilometre round trip that took nearly seven hours, two refuels and approximately $5,000 in aviation gas to complete.

“All four bases were busy.”

Of the 42 missions for the week Bundaberg flew 12, Toowoomba 11, the Sunshine Coast ten and the Gold Coast nine.

They ranged from road crashes, inter-facility transfers of seriously ill elderly patients, to a winch mission to retrieve two bushwalkers from the top of Mt Barney west of Murwillumbah.

“Averaged out each mission costs in excess of $12,500,” CareFlight Fundraising Manager Leanne Angel said.

“So last week’s missions cost more than half a million dollars.

“It’s a small price to pay for saving lives, but we couldn’t continue to fund this lifesaving service without community support.”

Anyone who wishes to donate to CareFlight can click on this link or phone 1800 630 014.