MAYOR’S LETTER MARK RYAN: URGENT NEED FOR ADDITIONAL RESCUE HELICOPTER IN FNQ
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
The crash and rescue scenario was a valuable training exercise for various services