Reef tour boss backs call for another chopper
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.