Just 11 days into the holiday season which officially began on December 10, RACQ LifeFlight crews have already flown 83 missions throughout Queensland – compared to 46 missions for the same period last year.
This season’s missions have consisted of 11 motor vehicle and motor cycle accidents, nine life-threatening accidents or emergencies where helicopters landed at the scene and five search and rescues including the airlift of an injured bushwalker from Sundown National Park south west of Toowoomba this morning.
There have also been 58 patient transfers from rural hospitals to larger regional and metropolitan hospitals, mostly to Brisbane.
So far in 2016, RACQ LifeFlight Rescue crews have airlifted a total of 183 road crash victims, involving on road and off road accidents.
With more Queenslanders hitting the roads this weekend, the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter service and its long-term naming rights partner RACQ, have urged people to travel safe, work safe and play safe to avoid becoming a summer statistic.
During last year’s summer school holiday period, RACQ LifeFlight Rescue crews flew 234 lifesaving missions around Queensland from 12 December 2015 to 26 January 2016.
This included 24 motor vehicle accidents (on road and off road) involving trucks, cars, motorcycles and quad bikes.
RACQ’s Lauren Ritchie said too many lives had been lost on Queensland roads this year.
“Close to 250 people have died on our roads in 2016 and we’re on track for the worst road toll in three years,” Ms Ritchie said.
“We’re pleading with motorists to remember the Fatal Five this holiday season. Speeding, drink driving, distraction, fatigue and failing to wear a seat belt are the leading causes of road fatalities.
“Do the right thing when you’re behind the wheel – focus on your drive, respect other road users and protect your passengers to ensure you arrive at your destination safely.
“Let’s end the year on a positive note and begin the New Year as we would like to continue it – safely.”
LifeFlight Critical Care Doctor Jeffrey Hooper said RACQ LifeFlight Rescue crews had been called to a diverse range of rescues this year and the holiday season always presented a range of challenging situations with so many people on the roads and engaging in different outdoor activities.
“Our [Critical Care] doctors can find themselves being winched down to a small area to rescue an injured bushwalker as happened outside Toowoomba this week, but they can also be sent out 300km to a tertiary centre to go to a small child who needs to be transferred to a larger metropolitan hospital for greater expert care,” says Dr Jeffrey Hooper.
“What we’re able to do is to provide definitive pre-hospital care – whether that’s at the roadside, whether that’s in a small hospital and with our Critical Care doctors who are able to give those lifesaving procedures in a range of different scenarios.
“Queensland is different to a lot of places around the world in that the distances we deal with are very long. We are able to provide a network of helicopters across Queensland to service the needs of the Queensland population, particularly in the rural and remote areas.”
Dr Hooper said RACQ LifeFlight Rescue crews wanted people to be safe during all of their holiday activities but if they needed medical assistance, help would be on hand in their hour in need.