Help from above
Each day, RACQ LifeFlight rescue crews treat an average of five seriously ill and critically injured patients.
For most, seeing an air ambulance bearing down over a busy tarmac, ready to whisk you or a loved one away for urgent medical care, is what nightmares are made of.
But for RACQ LifeFlight Chief Pilot Paul Regli, these life or death situations are all in a day’s work.
Mr Regli, who grew up in southern Ontario, Canada, started working for LifeFlight 11 years ago following a successful career flying F18s for the Royal Canadian and Australian Air Force.
Flying since the age of 12, Mr Regli said he had done and seen it all during his time in the air, though nothing compared with the rush of soaring to a remote location ready to save a life.
“We don’t keep a tally of the amount of lives we have saved,” he said.
“But the ones that tend to stick with you the most are kids.
“Back when we had a flu epidemic, we had to travel to Cairns to help a little girl whose body had just shut down after contracting either bird or swine flu.
“She was on life-support and we brought her from Cairns down to Brisbane and she was ok. Those are the good ones.”
Mr Regli said not every job goes to plan and pilots and medical staff face long, hard days, but at the end, knowing that what they do helps those in need makes all the difference.
“I can remember retrieving a lady from Argentina who had bone cancer,” he said.
“She was from Coolangatta and had only just arrived for a six-month holiday, had a small fall, broke her hip and discovered she had bone cancer.
“She died from the cancer in the end but her family came back and they wanted to thank us… they were just so thankful that we could retrieve her and get her back.
“It’s not always a great outcome but families appreciate everything we do.”
RACQ has been a dedicated supporter of the LifeFlight organisation for over 20 years, sponsoring the helicopters which have been instrumental in assisting over 44,000 critical rescue missions.
By sponsoring LifeFlight’s fixed-wing aircraft as well, RACQ is providing Queenslanders with the same level of emergency care wherever they are in the world.
The service is not only for RACQ members, but anyone in need – anywhere, at any time.
“Having RACQ sponsor us allows us to provide a higher level of service.”