The transfer of an injured jet ski rider from Clermont on October 20 marked the 9000th mission milestone for RACQ CQ Rescue.
The 35-year-old man, who suffered a seriously broken leg in the boating mishap which was believed to have happened at Theresa Creek Dam, was flown to Mackay Base Hospital in a four-and-a-half hour mission about 1pm.
It was the 553rd mission completed by the Mackay-based rescue helicopter so far this year, seventh task in one week and second visit to Clermont for the aircraft in just 24 hours.
RACQ CQ Rescue CEO Ian Rowan said the service was incredibly proud to have been able to fly to the assistance of thousands of individuals in their moment of dire need and have made a difference to so many lives across the region in 23 years.
The service had marked its 8000th mission on April 26th last year. With the rescue chopper’s mission numbers increasing annually, this 9000th milestone task number an accurate representation of the ever-growing necessity for such a lifesaving service in this region.
“We have already saved more than 500 lives this 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,” Mr Rowan said.
In 2019, the rescue helicopter had already transferred more than 78 cardiac patients, 115 patients with serious medical conditions, 27 from falls or accidents, 25 with cranial injuries, 28 injured in motor vehicle accidents, 14 work place accidents and completed 18 search and rescue missions. There have also been 40 flights to transfer critically ill or injured patients to Townsville, each costing about $27,000.
The milestone of 9000 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 full year the service’s single engine Bell Longranger helicopter undertook 92 tasks and operational costs were $1 million.
In 2019, operational costs had reached $9.45 million and tasks numbers were expected to exceed the 636 missions completed last year, Mr Rowan said.
“From our base here in Mackay we cover an area four times the size of Tasmania with one primary and one back up helicopter,” he 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 rescue helicopter is synonymous with saving lives across Central and North Queensland. Every day, with every life we save, we are continually proving our worth to this community,” Mr Rowan said.