Reef tour boss backs call for another chop­per

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

A REEF tourism boss be­lieves more lives can be saved with a sec­ond res­cue he­li­copter af­ter a snorkeller was suc­cess­fully re­vived on Sun­day.

About 4.10pm, the Res­cue 510 he­li­copter was dis­patched to Saxon Reef, about 60km north­east of Cairns, where a 69-year-old snorkeller had been found un­con­scious and float­ing in the wa­ter. Crew aboard the Reef En­counter ves­sel worked on the man un­til Res­cue 510 ar­rived about 20 min­utes later and he was flown to Cairns Hospi­tal.

The snorkeller was in a sta­ble con­di­tion on Mon­day and Reef En­counter staff have been praised for their quick think­ing.

The in­ci­dent fol­lows a spike in dive and snorkelling-re­lated in­ci­dents on the Great Bar­rier Reef, with the death toll for this year now at 18.

As­so­ci­a­tion of Ma­rine Park Tourism Op­er­a­tors ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Col McKen­zie es­ti­mated less than 5 per cent of peo­ple sur­vived af­ter be­ing found un­con­scious and not breath­ing.

“This res­cue alone is jus­ti­fi­ca­tion (for a sec­ond he­li­copter). There’s a life saved that would not have been saved if they (Res­cue 510) hadn’t gone out.

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