The state-of-the-art AgustaWestland AW139 chopper replaces a Bell 412, which has been stationed in the Maranoa since 2011 under a partnership agreement with the Surat gas industry.
LifeFlight’s Director of Helicopter Operations, Brian Guthrie, says the AW139 has become the most widely-used aeromedical rescue aircraft in Australia and is ideal for covering the great distances of the South West region.
“The Roma-based helicopter is often called to missions in extremely remote areas and we know time is of the essence.
“The 139 is a faster aircraft which means we can get to our patients more quickly and transport them to specialist care,” Mr Guthrie said.
The aircraft’s advanced features include the ability to fly at up to 270 km/hr and airlift up to 2,200 kg.
With a sophisticated Emergency Medical Service (EMS) fit-out, the AW139 allows LifeFlight’s critical care doctors to administer treatment in, what is essentially, a mobile intensive care unit.
The LifeFlight SGAS helicopters, based in Roma and Toowoomba, are contracted to provide an aeromedical service to the Surat Gas companies, including Shell QGC, Santos, Arrow Energy and Origin, in addition to providing critical support to the South West community.
“The need for immediate emergency response is imperative in remote areas both to the industry and to the broader community,” said SGAS spokesperson Stephen Pearson.
“We genuinely value the role this partnership plays in helping to save lives across South West Queensland.”