MAYOR’S LET­TER MARK RYAN: UR­GENT NEED FOR AD­DI­TIONAL RES­CUE HE­LI­COPTER IN FNQ

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

I would like to take this op­por­tu­nity to firstly of­fer my con­grat­u­la­tions on your re­cent Min­is­te­rial ap­point­ment to the Po­lice, Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices, and Cor­rec­tive Ser­vices port­fo­lios.

A com­mu­nity mem­ber, Mr Mitch Bohm, has con­tacted me to re­quest my as­sis­tance in se­cur­ing an ad­di­tional res­cue he­li­copter for the Far North Queens­land re­gion.

It is my opin­ion also that this is fast be­com­ing an ur­gent mat­ter for the safety of res­i­dents and vis­i­tors in Far North Queens­land.

As you are no doubt al­ready aware, Far North Queens­land is a broad area, sur­rounded by nat­u­ral won­ders, in­clud­ing the reef and rain­for­est, and is host to a thriv­ing pop­u­la­tion as well as an in­cred­i­bly suc­cess­ful tourism in­dus­try with hun­dreds of thou­sands of vis­i­tors ev­ery year.

The re­gion is also ex­posed to sig­nif­i­cant nat­u­ral disas­ter events an­nu­ally in­clud­ing flood­ing and cy­clones.

The com­bi­na­tion of th­ese unique fac­tors has re­sulted in an in­creased de­mand for emer­gency res­cues and in par­tic­u­lar the ser­vices of an ad­di­tional he­li­copter which is high­lighted in the some of the me­dia sur­round­ing var­i­ous res­cues:

In 2015 the “res­cue 510 crew, un­der­took about 70 searches, an av­er­age of one ev­ery five days.

Four hun­dred pa­tient trans­fers be­tween med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties. One hun­dred and fifty pri­mary re­sponse task­ings.”http://www. cairns post.com. au/ news/cairns/cairns-res­cue-chop­per crew de­tail-20 15-statis­tics/newsstory/8be9f12b­d23b925c611 d858a93e831 de

“The chop­per is fre­quently called to in­ci­dents on the Great Bar­rier Reef in­clud­ing med­i­cal episodes in­volv­ing divers or snorkel­ers.”http://www. cairns post.com. au/ news/cairns/ cairns-res­cue-chop­per crew de­tail-20 15-statis­tics/newsstory/8be9f12b­d23b925c611 d858a93e831 de

At mid­day on the 8/10/2014 a call came in for a he­li­copter crash at Mount Cook, just east of Cook­town. How­ever, 6 peo­ple were in­jured and the res­cue 510 was off­line for

main­te­nance all day so couldn’t at­tend the call.

- https:// www.airmedan­dres­cue.com/story967

The Dou­glas com­mu­nity has ex­peri.enced the grav­ity of loss first hand with the tragic death of Daniel Smith in De­cem­ber 2014 fol­low­ing a shark at­tack at Rud­der Reef, off the Dain­tree Coast. I have spo­ken at length with Daniel’s friends – one of

whom is Mitch Bohm – who worked tire­lessly on the har­row­ing 2 hour jour­ney back to shore to re­sus­ci­tate Daniel. It is my un­der­stand­ing that the res­cue he­li­copter was not avail­able to as­sist in this emer­gency and that a sec­ond he­li­copter could have been po­ten­tially life sav­ing.

The loss of such a young, vi­brant mem­ber of our com­mu­nity and the im­pact of the hor­ren­dous or­deal on Daniel’s com­pan­ions that day has re­in­forced my com­mit­ment to en­sur­ing we have the ser­vices of a sec­ond res­cue he­li­copter avail­able to the Far North re­gion.

Min­is­ter, I greatly ap­pre­ci­ate your con­sid­er­a­tion of the con­cerns out­lined above and I very much hope that we can work to­gether to pro­vide this cru­cial re­source to the Far North.

Ju­lia Leu, Mayor, Dou­glas Shire

Pic­ture: SCOTT TIB­BALLS

The crash and res­cue sce­nario was a valu­able train­ing ex­er­cise for var­i­ous ser­vices

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