The Road Ahead : April 2013
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU THE ROAD AHEAD APR/MAY 2013 10 COMMUNITY | RESCUE HELICOPTER NETWORK For the humble three-man crew aboard the RACQ Capricorn rescue helicopter, the title of heroes isn't one that sits comfortably. But for Robin Collie, her 14-month-old son Luke, and her friend Donna, who were rescued from raging flood waters near Biloela in Central Queensland on the Australia Day weekend, there's no better way to describe them. "It was a good result and we did what we were trained to do, and at the end of the day it was gratifying to know we did our job well," winch operator, and father of two young children, Matt Brandon said. STORY LAUREN RITCHIE THE COURAGEOUS WORK of RACQ's network of rescue helicopters during Queensland's flood crisis made headlines across the world -- frightened Queenslanders plucked from the roofs of homes and cars, airlifted to safety over torrents of muddy water. But for all the extraordinary images, the helicopter crews humbly remind us that for them, it was just another day on the job. to the rescue RACQ CAPRICORN RESCUE "When we flew over, we could see fast moving water almost covering the bonnet of the 4WD ute. It was lodged up against a tree, which made it incredibly dangerous for our crew to be lowered down the line, because it would have been so easy for them to smash into the trunk in the wind and down draught." Baby Luke was the first priority for the helicopter crew. Carrying a large equipment bag, Garth Snaidero landed precariously on the tray of the ute. Robin and Donna were asked to assist to zip the toddler inside the large bag. "Once inside the bag, Garth used all his strength to lift him, holding on for dear life, as I carefully brought him back up the line," Matt said. Vision taken from the helmets of the crew was broadcast across the world. Newspaper and magazine headlines read 'Baby in bag saved by flood heroes'. "For us, because it's what we are trained to do, it was just another task on a weekend that involved many rescues because of the floods," Matt said. Since the rescue, and the publicity surrounding it, the community helicopter has received donations from across the country. The funds have been earmarked to buy state-of-the- art harnesses, designed especially for young children. He was just so small. He couldn't fit in any of the harnesses we had onboard. Putting the toddler inside the equipment bag was improvised. We just never expected the worldwide attention we created.