The Road Ahead : February March 2014
QUEENSLAND'S LARGEST CLUB 67 FEATURE | MEMBER ESSENTIALS FEB/MAR 2014 THE ROAD AHEAD THE CHRISTMAS/NEW YEAR period was a busy time for most people, and the crew of RACQ CQ Rescue was no exception. During December and early January, the crew responded to 39 call- outs, ranging from hospital transfers and car crashes to major search and rescue operations. Included in those was the Christmas Eve rescue of a 10-year-old boy from a fishing trawler moored in shark- infested waters at Wackett Reef. The boy, on a fishing trip with his father, accidently had hydrogen peroxide splashed in his eye and needed immediate medical attention. RACQ CQ Rescue Base Manager/Air Crewman Mark Donovan said what started out as a text-book rescue took a turn for the worse upon arriving at the scene of the accident. The plan was to deliver the Rescue Crewman Officer (RCO) into the water close to the vessel, where he would disconnect, swim over to board the vessel and secure the patient for transport. Moments after the RCO was placed in the water, the crew noticed at least eight sharks circling under and around the vessel. As the RCO approached the back of the boat, a large shark appeared and swam directly towards him. no holiday for rescue crews RACQ'S CONTINUED SUPPORT HELPS CQ RESCUE KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. STORY DEB ECCLESTON "It was quite a surreal feeling seeing a shark of such size in close proximity to our RCO," Mr Donovan said. "When I informed the pilot to communicate with the boat's skipper via marine radio and tell him to get our RCO out of the water, the skipper casually replied, 'We normally have about 30 around the boat mate ... they're only sleepy sharks and don't have teeth'." Erring on the side of caution, however, the RCO was extracted from the water before the team took a different approach to the rescue and the patient was transported safely to Mackay Base Hospital. Since then, Mr Donovan has requested the purchase of shark repellent devices to give the RCOs 'peace of mind' in ocean rescues. It was quite a surreal feeling seeing a shark of such size in close proximity to our RCO. RACQ has re-signed as naming rights sponsor of CQ Rescue for another three years, continuing its long-term partnership with Queensland's community helicopter rescue services. RACQ Executive General Manager Advocacy Paul Turner said RACQ was proud to continue its support for CQ Rescue through a funding contribution of about $2 million over the next three years. "RACQ's long-term partnership with Queensland's community helicopter rescue services, including CQ Rescue, is our most important community sponsorship and one our members value very highly," Mr Turner said. "RACQ CQ Rescue saves lives and is a vital service for Central Queensland and we are very proud to be its number one supporter."