Woman airlifted following dramatic winch rescue
A South Burnett woman was airlifted following a daring helicopter rescue from a remote creek bed in Central Queensland's Carnarvon Gorge yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon, after falling ill and requiring urgent medical care.
The woman, in her mid-70s, is believed to have been hiking through the picturesque national park with her family when she suddenly felt faint and lost consciousness.
Her son ran 10 kilometres along a bush track to a ranger station and raised the alarm, before returning to his mother with help.
LifeFlight's Roma-based Surat Gas Aero-Medical Service (SGAS) helicopter was called to the scene at 2.35pm, and was tasked with recovering the woman safely.
Winch operator and LifeFlight Roma Base Manager Bryce Duke said the isolated location of the patient and the sheer cliffs that surrounded the site meant that landing the helicopter was not an option - and a winch rescue was the only possibility.
"It was an incredibly tight spot and we were getting a lot of wind through the gorge and off the canyon walls," said Bryce.
"The trees below meant that we couldn't get any lower, so we made the decision to winch from a significant height."
A LifeFlight doctor and Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) paramedic were winched down to the site and were able to stabilise the woman for transport, before winching her back up into the helicopter on a stretcher.
"Because of the nature of the job, we were working at maximum cable extension for the winch - it look approximately two-and-a-half minutes for us to winch the medical team down; and about the same to bring the patient back up into the helicopter," said Bryce.
"The entire family were entirely grateful for us arriving - I think they were dreading the prospect of carrying the lady out on foot for 10 kilometres. In fact, I think they'd still be walking out if they carried her out by foot."
The woman was flown to Roma Hospital in a stable condition.