News -

Champion wood chopper reunited with RACQ LifeFlight Rescuer

Champion Ekka wood chopper, Jake Dingle, was reunited today with the LifeFlight Critical Care Flight Nurse,  Renee Bolot, who treated him after a horror farming accident in 2015.

"It's great to see how far Jake has come since we last met, in the back of the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter," Nurse Bolot said. 

Jake Dingle spends his days at the Ekka putting on a spectacular show, wood chopping for crowds of fans, but few would know the material with which he's so familiar - timber - came heart-stoppingly close to claiming his life in August 2015.

Jake, who was born and bred in the North Burnett, was mustering on a family property, in between Mundubbera and Gayndah, when he was impaled by the tip of a fallen, dead tree.

"As I cantered past on my horse, I didn't realise the tree was there and it went in at my knee, through my thigh, all the way up to my groin," Jake said.

"It was like a spear."

By a stroke of luck, the piece of wood stopped just short of Jake's femoral artery.

Jake was urgently taken to Gayndah Hospital, where an RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter was waiting.

Brisbane-based Critical Care Flight Nurse, Renee Bolot, says airlifting a patient, with his leg still skewered by a tree branch, was a mission she won't forget.

"It had been a busy morning and while we were at a Brisbane Hospital, dropping a patient off, the call came in that we needed to go to Gayndah," she said.

"Within an hour and a half, we were landing at the hospital and ready to provide Jake the critical care he needed.

"I'd seen a lot in my time as a flight nurse, but that job will stay with me for a while, he came so close to a very different outcome," Nurse Bolot said.

Jake was flown to Bundaberg Hospital, where the piece of branch was removed and he received thirty staples in his leg.

Thanks to RACQ LifeFlight Rescue's quick response and critical care, he was able to make a return to his beloved sport and has gone on to become an Australian champion.

An Ekka stalwart at 27 years old, he's been competing in wood chopping at the Royal Queensland show for nearly 15 years.

RACQ LifeFlight Rescue has been saving Queensland lives since its first airlift, in 1979.

Last financial year, the community helicopters completed 2,003 missions throughout Queensland.

The airlifts are valued at more than $25 million, but come at no cost to patients.

This Ekka, RACQ LifeFlight Rescue is the proud community partner of EkkaNITES.

We're offering Queenslanders the once-in-a-lifetime chance to name an iconic Queensland rescue helicopter and spend the day as an RACQ LifeFlight Rescue crew member. To enter, text your suggestion + full name to 0400 858 858.