Two rescues in two months

LEFT: The RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service searches for an injured man at Kroombit Tops National Park at the weekend.
LEFT: The RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service searches for an injured man at Kroombit Tops National Park at the weekend. RACQ

RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service was tasked to an accident at Kroombit Tops National Park last Sunday, the second in two months.

A 50-year-old New Zealand national was dirt bike riding with friends when he was going up a steep hill on the Razorback track.

The man lost control on the dirt surface, causing him to fall off and injure his leg.

The man was treated at the scene by Queensland Ambulance Service critical care paramedic Biloela Station officer in charge Terry Zillmann and the rescue crewmen before being stretcher-winched.

He was transported to Rockhampton Base Hospital in a stable condition for further treatment.

Rescue service crewmen on board the Kroombit Tops mission.
Rescue service crewmen on board the Kroombit Tops mission. RACQ

Almost two months to the date on May 23, RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service attended an accident at Kroombit Tops National Park when a 58-year-old Monto resident was trapped between a tractor and its digging bucket.

Before May the last time the rescue helicopter had been to Kroombit Tops was in November 2015 and RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service air crewman Patrick Norton said there was no direct reason there has been two incidents in the space of two months at the national park.

"To be honest - just bad luck,” he said.

Patrick said the national park, which was well known for its four-wheel driving, could be a hard area to fly into at times.

"The Kroombit Tops terrain does increase the difficulty of performing rescues, due to the slopes of the area and dense bushland,” he said.

"There are a limited number of suitable places to land.

"In most instances the patient will need to be stretcher-winched from the accident scene.”

In the past 10 years, the RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service has recorded a total of 10 rescues and Patrick said the crewmen knew the terrain well.

"We generally average two rescues per year to the Kroombit Tops area,” Patrick said.

"Due to the frequency of these tasks we are quite familiar with the national park and the obstacles that it presents.”

With limited mobile service and high dense bushland, Patrick said they had procedures in place on how to navigate to retrieve the patient.

"Before taking off we are provided with a rough location of the patient by Retrieval Services Queensland,” he said.

"This is generally obtained by the person phoning in the incident to 000 and is obtained from their mobile phone, GPS or personal location beacon.

"During the flight and rescue the crew receive updated latitude and longitude coordinates if available.”

As mobile signal was limited, Patrick encouraged everyone to pack a personal location beacon if they were going to visit Kroombit Tops or any other areas.

"Ideally a personal location beacon is the most valuable piece of equipment that you can carry,” he said.

"You don't require mobile phone service to activate a distress call, it provides the most accurate data on your location - down to a few metres - and it won't go flat on you.

"Adequate food and water for a least 24 hours and a torch are also advised.

"A torch or light source will help us locate you at night with our night vision googles.”

Topics:  helicopter rescue kroombit tops racq airflight racq capricorn helicopter rescue service

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