12.12.19

The Mount Isa RACQ LifeFlight Rescue crew are ready and equipped to carry out winch rescues throughout the wet season, after an action-packed day of training (Tuesday 10th December).

The rescue helicopter headed to an oval in Mount Isa, where the crew practised lowering Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) Flight Paramedics in and out of the aircraft.

They ran through single and double person winches, as well as hoisting a patient on a stretcher.

RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Base Lead Billy McCreadie said winching is useful when a patient requires rescuing from an inaccessible location.

“We may turn to winching if an area is flooded, or if people need rescuing from rugged terrain,” Mr McCreadie said.

He said the extensive training ensures the crew will bring their skills together in the safest way possible, when they respond to emergencies.

“It’s a skill that you need to practise and it takes a lot of crew coordination to get the job done efficiently and safely.”

Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) Critical Care Flight Paramedic Andrew Jempson said winching is a valuable skill.

“With weather events and flooding we’ve experienced up here in the past, the need for winch extraction is vital to the area in an emergency and could save a life,” he said.

The 2018-2019 financial year was a record twelve months for the Mt Isa RACQ LifeFlight Rescue base, with the crew flying 49 critical missions, valued at more than $610,000, at no cost to patients.

Search and rescues were the most common mission type throughout that period.