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CareFlight’s Toowoomba helicopter clocks up 1,000 hours saving lives

RACQ CareFlight Rescue’s Toowoomba based helicopter has performed 506 missions in the 2014-2015 financial year, clocking up more than 1,000 hours saving lives in the community.

CareFlight’s Regional Base Manager Andrew Riches said the time spent completing rescue missions has risen by 222 hours this financial year, compared to the 2013-2014 financial year figure of 783 hours.

“This equates to an additional 111 lifesaving airlifts, which is a 28% increase on the 395 missions flown in the 2013-2014 financial year,” he said.

The Toowoomba Base continues to be CareFlight’s busiest, with 35% of all flights departing from the Clive Berghofer CareFlight Centre to treat and airlift seriously ill or injured patients.

This financial year, the Toowoomba helicopter was called out for 390 urgent hospital transfers, 35 serious motor vehicle crashes, 12 neonatal transfers of tiny babies, and seven search and rescue missions.

An additional 62 air-medical retrievals occurred at the scene of emergency situations such as snake bites, horse falls, animal attacks and farming accidents.

“The Toowoomba helicopter frequently flies to communities in the South West region to help residents and visitors in their time of need,” Mr Riches said.

“Since July last year, 158 missions have been performed in the Southern Downs region; 124 in the Western Downs region; and 109 in and around Toowoomba.”

Some of the 506 missions from the 2014-2015 financial year include a winch rescue of a teenager who fell approximately 30 metres from a track at Mount Lofty in Toowoomba; a man in his 60s who was bitten by a deadly Tiger Snake near Warwick; and a woman who suffered serious injuries following a machinery accident on a property near Pittsworth.

CareFlight began part-time operations in Toowoomba back in 2006 and has been running the 24/7 service full-time since 2010.

RACQ CareFlight Rescue’s community bases located at Toowoomba, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Bundaberg flew a combined 1,410 missions in the 2014-2015 financial year.

This record figure is an 8% increase on the 2013-2014 financial year figure of 1,302 missions flown.