Fly Back Facts | 2014

You could say that CapRescue literally launched into 2014. Not only did our exclusive Rescue300 Club take flight, securing 64 members in its first year, we also got the party started with 260 guests attending our inaugural CapRescue Ball.

In May, a crowd of 80 community members and guests attended a breakfast event held in our ‘old’ hangar to launch our exclusive Rescue300 Club. Attendees were entertained by guest speaker and supporter Tim Gibson. Who delivered a very animated talk about his motives behind entering the Lynx Space Academy competition. Detailing the selection process, the grueling training drills at the Kennedy Space Centre and his expectations for his journey into space. The CapRescue board, crew and staff also shared an insight into the operations of the service and how it can be supported by businesses and individuals. CapRescue executive director Mark Fewtrell hailed the launch as a great success. To date, the valued members of the club that saves lives have contributed almost $500,000 towards keeping their local community safe.

Just a few months later, over 260 movers and shakers from Rockhampton and surrounding areas attended the very first CapRescue Ball on Friday 22 August. Presented by Sibelco (today QMAG), the event ticked all the boxes—glitz, glamour, fabulous entertainment, captivating guest speakers and an endless bar tab! The Rescue300 Club major draw: a logo on our helicopter for 12 months valued at $30,000; was won by Cardno and accepted by Chris Bloxsom with an excited hug and heartfelt message of support for CapRescue. The biennial event has continued to exceed expectations and raised much needed funds with the continued support of major sponsors such as Sibelco, who have been naming rights sponsor of the event from the beginning.

Long-term supporter BMA promoted our partnership and delivered our message in an innovative way, hauling it across the BMA Blackwater Mine site on the back of a Komatsu 930E tray. With the tray scheduled for regular maintenance, an opportunity to promote our charity was identified by David Byrne and fully supported by maintenance manager Brian Maher and the team. The mammoth project took just four-and-a-half weeks, with a total of 10 boilermakers working on rotating shifts day and night to restore and repair the tray. Finally, 200 litres of paint in CapRescue’s yellow and blue was applied, and the tray headed back to Blackwater to be used as a working dump truck on site. On average, we are tasked once a week to retrieve patients from Blackwater.

Keeping our crew on their toes, a spear gun accident off Great Keppel Island made for a difficult rescue. The patient, Damien Olsen, was on the back of a boat when the gun discharged and the spear entered just below his breast on one side and exited below his shoulder on the other, narrowly missing his heart by about 10 mm. Rescue crewman Garth Snaidero said it is not the sort of injury they usually see. There was reconfiguration required in loading the patient into the aircraft at the scene to accommodate the spear protruding from his side. Once on board, he was transported to Rockhampton Hospital for further treatment.

Just six weeks after the accident, Damien paid a visit to our crew; after just 15 days in hospital, he had made a remarkable recovery. Rescue crewman Garth Snaidero showed Damien around the aircraft and hangar and was also able to fill in some of the gaps from the rescue. Damien enjoyed meeting the crew and was passionate about encouraging the community to support the service. It was also an opportunity for all involved to gain some closure from the event.

Damien’s rescue was just one of 301 tasks in 2014, with the CapRescue crew spending more than 450 hours in the air.

Image: 2014
Patient Damien Olsen paid a visit to our crew just six weeks after his spear missed his heart by 10 mm.