The airlift of a critically ill patient from one of the Whitsunday Islands on Saturday night marked the 7000th mission for RACQ CQ Rescue.
The milestone mission, the 314th task this year for the Mackay-based rescue helicopter, was incredibly significant for both the region and the community-funded organisation which next month celebrates two decades of service to the community, RACQ CQ Rescue CEO Martin Cleland said.
“On September 1, RACQ CQ Rescue celebrates 20 years of saving lives and we are incredibly proud to have been able to fly to the assistance of thousands of individuals in their moment of need and to be the first-class, patient-orientated emergency response provider the people of this region deserve,” Mr Cleland said.
“We have already saved hundreds of lives in the last year, whether it be via hospital transfers, attending motor vehicle or workplace accidents or search and rescue missions, and we’re incredibly proud to have grown both in size and status to become one of the most trusted and highly respected not-for-profit organisations in the state.”
The milestone of 7000 missions was yet another impressive achievement for the charitable organisation which started in 1996 in a small demountable building, using a quarter of a shared hangar space at Casey Avenue. In the first year, the service’s single-engine Bell Longranger helicopter undertook 58 tasks and operational costs were $1 million. In 2016, operational costs are $8.3 million and tasks numbers are expected to again exceed 500.
The service’s incredible 20-year history and thousands of life-saving achievements will be celebrated at the RACQ CQ Rescue 20th Anniversary Gala Masquerade Ball, presented by Thiess, at the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre on Friday, September 2.
Mr Cleland said the rescue chopper’s mission numbers were increasing annually and that the milestone task numbers were an accurate representation of the ever-growing necessity for such a life-saving service in this region.
RACQ CQ Rescue set another new record recently making June 2016 the second biggest month in the service’s 20-year history, flying 51 tasks costing more than $700,000.
In the last three days, RACQ CQ Rescue had flown to the Whitsundays three times to airlift patients to Mackay Base Hospital who was in need of urgent medical care, Mr Cleland said.
“From our base here in Mackay we cover an area four times the size of Tasmania with one primary and one reserve helicopter,” Mr Cleland said.
“We are a small but very dedicated team and delivering some very big results, but importantly, we are also a not-for-profit service which is absolutely vital to the sick and injured within our community.
“Our blue and yellow helicopter is synonymous with saving lives. Every day, with every life we save, we are continually proving our worth to this community,” he said.
Tickets for the RACQ CQ Rescue 20th Anniversary Gala Masquerade Ball, presented by Thiess, are available from the MECC on 4961 9777 or at www.mackaytix.com.au.