The RACQ CQ rescue helicopter was tasked to more than 220 incidents in the Whitsundays last year. Picture: RACQ CQ Rescue
The RACQ CQ rescue helicopter was tasked to more than 220 incidents in the Whitsundays last year. Picture: RACQ CQ Rescue

Whitsundays tops list of RACQ CQ rescues for 2020

The RACQ CQ helicopter landed in the Whitsundays more than any Central and North Queensland region in 2020.

The rescue chopper was tasked to more than 220 incidents across the Whitsundays, including Proserpine, Bowen and Collinsville, last year.

Among incidents this year were a rescue from Cid Harbour after a battery exploded in a tourist’s face and a five-and-a-half hour mission to help a woman trapped in a concrete truck near Collinsville.

These added to a total of 631 missions with 164,000km clocked up across Central and North Queensland.

Patients flown after motor vehicle accidents increased by 64 per cent since 2019 and search and rescue missions increased to 26 tasks, including emergency beacon activations.

The RACQ CQ Rescue helicopter was tasked to Cid Harbour. Picture: RACQ CQ Rescue
The RACQ CQ Rescue helicopter was tasked to Cid Harbour. Picture: RACQ CQ Rescue

Farming accidents including incidents involving horse and cattle increased across the region in 2020 and the helicopter flew critically ill and injured patients to Townsville 40 times with each trip costing about $32,000 on average.

CQ Rescue CEO Ian Rowan said September and October were the service’s busiest months with 62 and 63 missions completed respectively.

“In 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic and challenges this community faced, our helicopter and crew completed an average of 52 missions a month, some tasks taking as long as eight and nine hours and flying hundreds of kilometres to airlift people to urgent medical care from often remote locations,” he said.

Every hour the helicopter is in the air on task, it costs the service about $10,500.

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However, Mr Rowan said the community support and fundraising had helped to keep the lifesaving service in the sky.

“2020 has certainly presented its challenges in terms of fundraising and operations due to COVID-19, but we are very proud to have maintained such wonderful corporate and community support which really enables us to fly to the assistance of hundreds of individuals in their moment of dire need and make a difference to so many lives across the region,” he said.

“Every day, with every life we save, we are continually proving our worth to this community.”


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