Groom injured in wedding day preparation thanks rescue chopper crew

Toowoomba builder, Tim Smith, has brought his young family to the Clive Berghofer LifeFlight Centre, to thank the rescue chopper crew, who helped save his life.

“I can’t express how grateful I am,” Tim said.

“Every day is a blessing.  I can’t say enough how grateful I am.”

In 2019, while Tim was preparing for the best day of his life, the worst happened.

On the 6th of March, Tim was crushed between a bobcat and a 30 tonne excavator, while he was clearing his family’s property in preparation for his wedding, which was just three days away.

The Toowoomba RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter was called to Cawdor and the crew was met with a very serious scene.

A bystander had called Tim’s partner, Kym, to tell her about the accident.

“I just kept asking if he was going to die and Craig [Kym’s brother-in-law] said ‘I don’t know, but it’s not going to be good,” she said.

Kym arrived to the scene at the same time as the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue chopper.

Tim was treated by an RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Critical Care Doctor and Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) paramedics, before being loaded into the chopper and flown to the Princess Alexandra Hospital.

The flight to hospital took less than half an hour.

“We hold LifeFlight very close to our hearts,” Kym said.

Tim’s upper body and head injuries were so critical, his wife-to-be was invited to ride in the chopper, to be with him.

Today, Tim and Kym were reunited with Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) Critical Care Flight Paramedic, Stephen Baigrie, who was onboard the chopper too.

“I still remember Steve’s face sitting across from me, in the helicopter.  He kept giving me reassuring nods on the way to hospital,” Kym said.

Mr Baigrie said Tim’s mission was memorable and being able to meet him again, was heart-warming.

“It was very obvious that it was a significant injury, so it was touch and go,” he said.

Tim was safely transferred to Brisbane, where he spent several weeks in a coma.

Upon waking up, he spent a few weeks on the neuro ward until he was able to be transferred into BIRU (Brain Injury Rehab Unit) where he spent months learning how to walk, talk and do simple everyday tasks.

During that time, Kym discovered she was expecting the couple’s second child.

“That was one of the main things that pushed me along, I wanted to be here to raise my daughter,” Tim said.

In a true testament to the young father’s fighting spirit, he’s now home with his family and – despite a few deficits – he has been able to return to work part time.

Nearly two years on from the day they were due to marry, Tim and Kym finally tied the knot in February 2021, surrounded by all their friends and family.

Today, the pair handed over a donation, to LifeFlight Chairman, Hon. Rob Borbidge AO.

The money was gifted by guests at their wedding.

“Each of these machines is a flying intensive care unit,” Mr Borbidge said.

“The fact that Tim and Kym are together again, with another child and can look forward to a happy and healthy life together, is a direct result of LifeFlight.”

“It’s remarkable – actually – to see Tim up and walking around and doing so well,” QAS Flight Paramedic, Steve Baigrie, said.

“To be able to help give a family that quality of life, it’s great.”

Tim has generously agreed to be the special guest patient, at this year’s Toowoomba LifeFlight ball, which is presented by the International Association of Drilling Contractors.

The sold out event is happening next month.