RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter returns to Toowoomba skies
The RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter, damaged when an unmanned 4 x 4 utility collided with its tail boom outside Warwick 12 days ago, has been repaired and has returned to its home base of Toowoomba today.
The Bell 412 helicopter returned to service after repairs at a Redcliffe aircraft maintenance facility, which involved fixing an antenna and replacing its damaged left horizontal elevator.
LifeFlight engineers have been in regular communication with the manufacturers, Bell USA, who are satisfied with the repair and maintenance process that LifeFlight has followed.
The rescue helicopter was damaged on July 22 after landing at the Gap Creek motorcross park, outside of Warwick, to airlift an injured rider, who was subsequently transported to hospital by another LifeFlight helicopter.
Police believe that the 4x4 utility may have had a faulty hand brake. No one was injured in the collision.
LifeFlight General Manager of Operations, Mr Brian Guthrie, said a replacement helicopter had been moved to Toowoomba within a day of the accident which had meant no disruption to the service to the south-west region.
“While it was a freak accident – and it was the first time something like this had happened to LifeFlight – we were lucky that the damage to the helicopter wasn’t worse,” said Mr Guthrie.
“Aside from the antenna and the horizontal elevator, nothing else needed replacing. We have done everything we can, as quickly and as safely as we can, to get the helicopter back in service to its Toowoomba base.”
He said the final cost of the accident was still being assessed, although LifeFlight was covered by insurance.
The helicopter was immediately back in action this afternoon, with the crew being tasked with the inter-facility transfer of a patient from Miles to Toowoomba Hospital for treatment.