Sunshine Coast RACQ LifeFlight Rescue, a year of memorable missions

Dramatic winch rescues, finding missing people and airlifting survivors of a plane crash are amongst the Sunshine Coast RACQ LifeFlight Rescue crews’ most memorable missions in the past 12 months.

In March, an RACQ LifeFlight Rescue mission made national headlines, after three international tourists were winched from rough seas, near Inskip Point.

The ocean rescue highlighted how skilled and well-trained RACQ LifeFlight Rescue chopper crews are.

Earlier in the year, a Sunshine Coast crew airlifted two light plane pilots from Fraser Island, after their aircraft crashed into the ocean.

Between July 2019 and June 2020, Sunshine Coast RACQ LifeFlight Rescue crews completed 496 missions.

“Those airlifts are valued at more than $6.2 million, but, of course, come at no cost to the patient,” RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Director of Aeromedical Services, Dave Donaldson, said.

“Our rescue helicopters are, basically, critical care ambulances, that fly directly to the patient and we’re available 24/7, from all of our bases, throughout Queensland.”

The mammoth rescue efforts were part of a record 2019/2020 financial year of flying, for LifeFlight Australia.

In the past 12 months, RACQ LifeFlight Rescue’s combined resources of community helicopters, air ambulance jets and Critical Care Doctors, have performed 6,333 lifesaving missions.

“RACQ LifeFlight Rescue is a critical service for Queenslanders, whether they’re in built up areas or in our remote and regional areas,” Mr Donaldson said.

RACQ LifeFlight Rescue’s community helicopters, based around Queensland, completed 2,022 of those missions.

“We’re there for Queenslanders, ready to come and help them, when they need us.”

The top five missions by the Sunshine Coast chopper, according to illness and injury:

1. Cardiac (132)

2. Motor vehicle accidents (94)

3. Neurological (42)

4. Serious illness/infection (31)

5. Falls (28)

Across Queensland, motor vehicle accidents were one of the most common reasons, for RACQ LifeFlight Rescue’s community helicopters callouts.

RACQ spokesperson Lucinda Ross said the mobility club is a proud naming rights sponsor of the air ambulance jets, helicopters and Critical Care Doctors.

As road safety advocates, the RACQ team knows the difference the aeromedical service continues to make, to Queensland lives.

“For 115 years, RACQ has been Queensland’s advocate for improving road safety for motorists, so our sponsorship of LifeFlight is just another way we can help people who become the victims of road crashes,” Ms Ross said.

“Sadly, we still see far too many people injured on our roads, but we’re grateful to the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue teams, for their work to get Queenslanders the urgent medical care they need, when they need it.”

Operational video courtesy RACQ LifeFlight Rescue