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8 February, 2024

Toowoomba LifeFlight busier than ever

Toowoomba’s RACQ LifeFlight Rescue and LifeFlight Surat Gas Aeromedical Service crews have recorded the highest number of aeromedical missions in Queensland completing 959 missions – a 46 per cent increase on the previous year.

LifeFlight came to the aid of a teenager who was injured in a car crash at Headington Hill last year. Photo, RACQ LifeFlight

RACQ LifeFlight Rescue and LifeFlight Surat Gas Aeromedical Service (SGAS) helicopters are based at the Clive Berghofer LifeFlight Centre and Roma. 

The two chopper crews clocked up 1397 mission flying hours and serviced a vast area, from the Darling Downs to interstate. 

They were tasked to respond to a wide range of requests including searches, mountain winch rescues, motor vehicle accidents – and even another helicopter after it crashed into a dam while fire-bombing in the Scenic Rim Region.  

LifeFlight Australia Chief Operations Officer Lee Schofield, said the high number and diverse nature of the rescues demonstrated the importance of the service and its impact on communities. 

“The sheer volume and complexity of the missions just goes to show how indispensable LifeFlight’s aeromedical service is in the Darling Downs Region,” he said. 

“When you look at the circumstances and scale of the operations over the past 12 months, the life-saving capability of the organisation has really shone. 

“Often our crews are called on in the middle of the night to airlift patients in remote and precarious places and transport them safely to hospitals. 

“I am incredibly proud of our staff and their efforts to deliver world class emergency care and I thank them for their work in what has been a record year of activity for the organisation.” 

Roma LifeFlight SGAS aeromedical crews completed 72 missions, with motor vehicle incidents the number one reason for the chopper to be tasked. 

The Toowoomba aircraft was tasked 48 times to the scene of serious on and off-road vehicle incidents. 

RACQ LifeFlight Rescue crews across the state performed 2851 missions – a 28 per cent increase on the previous year total of 2223. 

The majority of missions were actioned on behalf of Queensland Health, with male patients making up 62 per cent. 

LifeFlight’s fleet of four Air Ambulance jets and nine rotary wing aircraft operates from eight Queensland bases and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, directly servicing an area of 1.85 million square kilometres. 

The Toowoomba and SGAS crews contributed to a record calendar year for LifeFlight Australia as a whole, with the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue and LifeFlight Surat Gas Aeromedical Service helicopters, Air Ambulance jets, Critical Care Doctors Flight Nurses and Flight Paramedics helping 7455 people - a 15 per cent increase on the previous year. 

As part of its commitment to the South-West Region, 150 flying hours are donated each year by SGAS to assure community aeromedical services are covered. 

LifeFlight continues to invest in the region, opening the $3.4 million Lee Family and Australian Country Choice LifeFlight Centre Roma base - home to Roma’s LifeFlight SGAS helicopter and crew.   

It includes an interactive attraction, where guests can explore and learn about the world of aviation and medicine at the LifeFlight Visitor Experience. 

They can also hear first-hand stories from the people LifeFlight have helped in the Maranoa region.  

LifeFlight Australia celebrates 45 years of service in December. 

It will coincide with a 30-year partnership with naming rights sponsor RACQ.                                       

“We’re immensely proud to support an organisation that saves so many lives and has such a positive impact on the communities it serves,” RACQ’s Lauren Cooney said. 

“The reason Australia’s biggest emergency aeromedical provider and RACQ became partners hasn’t changed in three decades. 

“We share a passion and a commitment for safety and saving lives.” 

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