Man airlifted to hospital from Mount Barney

RESCUE: A man in his 70s was airlifted to hospital from Mount Barney. Photo: RACQ LifeFlight Rescue
RESCUE: A man in his 70s was airlifted to hospital from Mount Barney. Photo: RACQ LifeFlight Rescue

EMERGENCY services were called to Mount Barney yesterday afternoon for what was to become a rescue operation.

A Sunshine Coast based RACQ LifeFlight helicopter crew flew to Mount Barney about 1pm after reports a man in his seventies had fallen a short distance whilst bushwalking and abseiling with friends.

Due to the location of the group, it was decided the best way to attend to the patient was to winch the helicopter's medical team down to him.

LifeFlight emergency doctor Joakim Johansson was with the rescue crew and said they had just competed a rescue from North Stradbroke Island when the call came through.

“We were already in the area, so after rearranging the helicopter for a winch operation, we were in the air within 10 or 12 minutes and at Mount Barney within half an hour,” he said.

Dr Johansson said the mission was complicated from a logistical viewpoint because of bushland impeding access for the helicopter.

“The pilot had to hover at some altitude, which complicates things further as the winch wire tends to swing and turn the higher you are.

“Myself and a paramedic were winched to a clearing and then walked to the patient with about 20kg of medical equipment through an opening in the trees, which were quite high.

“The man had a lower leg fracture but his injuries were not time critical, so after giving him pain medication, inserting an IV and immobilising his leg we began the extrication.

Dr Johansson said they had been lucky to find an opening in the trees because taking the patient out on foot would have taken days.

“The extrication was a bit difficult, taking us about 30 minutes scrambling and sliding down a steep gully about 100 metres over loose rocks and wet leaves,” he said.

He said they had also been lucky that two of the man’s companions, who had hiked to the top of Mount Barney and were abseiling back down, were on on hand to help carry the stretcher back to where the helicopter was hovering.

“If there had been only two of us, it would have taken twice as long,” Dr Johansson said.

“From a medical perspective the situation was not complicated and I actually didn’t do much.”

He said the real credit should go to the pilot and the air crewman who had managed to overcome logistical challenges.

The man was airlifted to the Gold Coast University Hospital in a stable condition.