The successful lobbying by the four community helicopter providers in Queensland at the time—Careflight, Energex, CQ Rescue and CapRescue—paid off after sufficient government funding for the transition to a twin-engine instrument flight rated aircraft was secured in 2005. In preparation for the new aircraft’s arrival, substantial renovations to the hangar were undertaken. These modifications made it possible to appoint a resident aircraft maintenance engineer and accommodate the new aircraft.
By August the Dauphin 365N had arrived and replaced the single-engine Squirrel. It was soon put to work and proved its worth after completing a difficult winch rescue over water, not possible with the previous Squirrel helicopter. This was followed by numerous retrievals from areas that were previously unable to be reached within a reasonable response time and opened up the possibility of direct transportation to Brisbane. The Dauphin provided the people from within the Central Queensland community, our patients, with the best possible medical outcome available.
On 25 August, the new Dauphin helicopter was tasked to two rescues near Middlemount, at a total distance of 300 km per trip. The first rescue involved a 51-year-old man who had been injured in a coal mine south of Middlemount. He suffered a broken leg after becoming trapped underground.
Just one hour after returning to base, the crew were tasked to Middlemount again, this time for a 45-year-old man who had been thrown over the handlebars of his motorcycle. The rider had landed on his head with his bike on top of him after attempting to perform a jump at the Middlemount track. He was unconscious for over 40 minutes and suffered severe head injuries. Our pilot flew the man to Rockhampton in a conscious state, keeping the helicopter at a low level to reduce the pressure on his head.
To boost revenue for the service, the CapRescue volunteers attended the third annual Paradise Lagoons Campdraft. Over the course of three years (2003, 2004 and 2005) the Paradise Lagoons Campdraft Committee had donated more than $23,000 to both CapRescue and RFDS.
In December, members of the Capricorn Dirt Riders Club presented us with a cheque for $1,000 after requiring our services at their annual Coultsie’s 2 Day Pony Express. The CapRescue helicopter was a welcome sight for Tim Perry who broke his leg while competing in the 2005 event. Tim’s rescue contributed to the service’s total tally of 210 rescues and 229 flying hours for the year.
The Dauphin performs its’ first rescue – an IHT from Woorabinda to Rockhampton.