Home to two rescue helicopters, Toowoomba is yet again LifeFlight’s busiest base with the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue and LifeFlight Surat Gas Aeromedical Service (SGAS) chopper crews coming to the aid of a record 725 people last financial year.
It was a significant contribution to an overall record 2022-23 financial year for LifeFlight Australia, with the service’s rescue helicopters, Air Ambulance jets, Critical Care Doctors, Flight Nurses and Paramedics helping 7,349 people in need.
LifeFlight traces its history in Queensland back to 1979 and the service has now come to the aid of more than 81,000 people.
The most common reason for the Toowoomba chopper crews to be tasked directly to an emergency scene in 2022-23 was to attend serious motor vehicle incidents.
There were 91 motor vehicle incidents requiring urgent aero-medical response.
They included on and off-road incidents and involved two and four-wheeled vehicles.
RACQ spokesperson Lauren Cooney said that crashes continue to be one of the main reasons why RACQ LifeFlight Rescue are called out on missions.
“When we look at what’s causing those crashes it continues to be the Fatal Five,” she said.
“That’s speeding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving distracted, driving fatigued and not wearing a seatbelt.”
Toowoomba LifeFlight helicopter crews were tasked to missions ranging from Search and Rescue (SAR) operations to agricultural incidents, which saw them cover vast distances in the region, spending more than 1,204 hours in the air.
The total cost of the community missions performed by the Toowoomba crews is estimated to be $15.2 million, which comes at no charge to patients.
The top five mission categories in 2022/23 Financial Year for the Toowoomba-based RACQ LifeFlight helicopters were:
- Motor vehicle incidents (91 missions)
- Medical/illness (78 missions)
- Cardiac/chest pain (67 missions)
- Respiratory (not COVID-19) (56 missions)
- Abdominal (40 missions)
This article appeared in On Our Selection News, 3 August 2023.