Fly Back Facts | 2018

With the Capricorn Coast right on our doorstep, the crew are no strangers to the high potential of things not exactly going to plan for both locals and visitors when enjoying the stunning waters off the Capricorn Coast—often dipping their toes in the ocean while on the job.

Unfortunately, for two men in early 2018 it was not all smooth sailing. Just before midnight, CapRescue received the call that a boat was missing in the Stanage Bay area. At first light, approximately 5.30 am, the crew tracked towards Stanage Bay to search.

After searching for several hours, the crew spotted a blue esky floating in the water. With fuel running low, they made the crucial decision to continue the search. Towards the northern end of Quail Island, they spotted an upturned boat smashing against the rocks, with no sign of life. Pushing on, an extensive search of the island uncovered two men on its rocky shores. After being winched from the rocks, both men were treated for cuts and abrasions. The crew landed in Stanage Bay to refuel before airlifting the patients to Rockhampton Hospital, both in good spirits. The lengthy mission resulted in a successful outcome that would not have been the case if not for the persistence of our highly skilled air crew.

The dedication of the CapRescue crew was recognised on 27 May, as they ticked off an extraordinary 7,000 rescues by attending a motor vehicle accident on the Fitzroy Development Road, approximately 20 km north of Dingo. Upon arrival to the scene, one of the two vehicles involved appeared to have rolled during the high-speed collision causing a suspected significant head injury to a 2-year-old occupant; the mother of the child suffered a broken ankle. Both patients on board the milestone mission remained in a stable condition.

Following the successful launch of the StepUp CapRescue Volunteers program in 2017, persistence also paid off for volunteer manager Kirsty Wooler and volunteer coordinator Caitlin Buttenshaw, being nominated by executive director Mark Fewtrell for the Excellence in Volunteer Management Award in the 2018 Queensland Volunteering Awards. State-wide, 16 organisations were nominated for the award; with Kirsty and Caitlin proudly named as one of the three finalists. Providing inspiration for many smaller, regional charities. As the other two finalists represented large, nationally recognised organisations. During 2018, our number of active volunteers increased by more than 50 per cent, with over 1080 hours clocked up, contributing an estimated $45,000* in value to the service (*based on Volunteering Queensland’s wage guide).

With our volunteers’ help, for the first time in CapRescue history, the 2018 gala ball was hosted in the newly built hangar. It entailed a massive three-day overhaul to completely transform the space from top to bottom. The result was a night to remember, with over 320 guests including representatives from our corporate partners, live entertainment and past patient Tania Cowie. The ball was an overwhelming success and raised both vital funds for the service and provided an extra opportunity to show off our newly finished twin-bay hangar, following its official launch in March.

Swapping gowns and bow ties for life vests and wetsuits, the crew went on to complete 380 rescues and 598 flying hours during 2018.

Image: 2018
Sunset rescue on Great Keppel Island. A 64 year old women was airlifted off the island after being struck by a quad bike.