Tourist winched to safety af­ter div­ing ac­ci­dent

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

A 63-YEAR-OLD Hong Kong man has been winched to safety off Hardy Reef pon­toon af­ter a rou­tine scuba dive.

The man is be­lieved to have as­cended too quickly, caus­ing him to in­hale wa­ter while ris­ing to the sur­face.

The in­ci­dent oc­curred on Satur­day, May 9

An RACQ CQ Res­cue repre- sen­ta­tive said the trauma team was in the air quickly and pre­par­ing for the worst, as div­ing mishaps of­ten had se­ri­ous af­ter-ef­fects, in­clud­ing baro­trauma, a con­di­tion where tis­sue breaks down due to changes in pres­sure through­out the body. The chop­per left at 2.40pm. The con­fined space and weight limit on the Hardy Reef pon­toon meant the fly­ing trauma team’s para­medic and res­cue crew of­fi­cer were winched down to treat the man and sta­bilise him for the flight to hos­pi­tal, which ar­rived at 4.27pm.

Res­cue crew of­fi­cer Justin Craib said tasks like this were what the team trained for.

“Due to the na­ture of the ac­ci­dent it was im­por­tant to trans­fer him to hos­pi­tal as his con­di­tion had po­ten­tial to worsen,” he said.

“I was winched along with the para­medic onto the pon­toon, where we were able to sta­bilise the pa­tient while the he­li­copter hov­ered above. Once he was pre­pared for flight, the air crew of­fi­cer on the he­li­copter winched all three of us in turn.”

Once the man was safely on board the res­cue he­li­copter, he was flown to Mackay Base Hos­pi­tal for fur­ther treat­ment and as­sess­ment.

A Queens­land Health spokes­woman said the man re­quired no med­i­cal treat­ment.

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