Tourist Suffers Horrific Burns In Camping Mishap In Whitsundays

RACQ CQ Rescue winched a Victorian tourist off Hook Island last night with horrific burns to 20% of his body including his groin.


The 33-year-old man had been hiking and camping with his partner on the island, 117km north of Mackay in the Whitsundays, when it is believed he spilled boiling hot water from a campfire in his lap late yesterday afternoon.

RACQ CQ Rescue was en route back to base in Mackay about 7.30pm after transporting a critically ill patient from Bowen to Townsville hospital when the task came in that a 000 call had been received and a patient was suffering serious burns and required immediate aeromedical retrieval from the island.

The Mackay-based rescue helicopter crew made contact with the man’s partner on the island via a mobile phone and she was instructed to light up their camp site on the northern side of Hook Island, facing Hayman Island, with torches and lamps to enable the crew to easily identify their exact position.

As the helicopter approached the island in the dark with the search light on, the woman had to drag the injured man out of the ocean where he had been sitting cooling the burns on his thighs, abdomen and groinfor over an hour, and pull him back on to the beach, RACQ CQ Rescue pilot Doug White said.

Given there was no where for the helicopter to land, the Critical Care Paramedic on board was winched down onto the island to administer immediate pain relief and secure the man into an Air Rescue Vest (ARV).

Both the paramedic and the injured man were winched up into the helicopter and flown to Mackay Airport about 9pm to meet an ambulance to transport him to Mackay Base Hospital. It is believed he may be flown to Brisbane today to a hospital with a specialist burns unit.

Volunteer Marine Rescue was contacted and was last night headed to Hook Island to retrieve the man’s partner who had to be left behind.