A Pilatus PC12 operated by Australia’s Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) has made a landing on a remote stretch of the Eyre Highway to assist the critically injured motorist involved in car rollover.
The RFDS was responding to a vehicle accident which was involved in a rollover on a remote stretch of the Eyre Highway which connects the states of Western Australia and South Australia.
According to the Australian national broadcaster ABC News, emergency services were alerted to the accident just prior to 1 PM in the afternoon on Saturday 1 April.
The vehicle had rolled over on a remote stretch of the highway in the state of South Australia, approximately 140 km from the state border, and the sole male occupant of the vehicle suffered life-threatening injuries.
The RFDS response aircraft, a single-engine turboprop Pilatus PC-12 used a specific stretch of the highway, designed to act as an airstrip in the event of such an emergency.
Once on the scene, paramedics performed life-saving procedures before evacuating the critically injured man to South Australia’s Royal Adelaide Hospital.
RFDS pilots are aware of the location of the makeshift runway and reportedly will land on a major highway such as the Eyre Highway perhaps twice a year.
Following the weekend’s incident, the Royal Flying Doctor service SA/NT division issued an informal statement via its social media channel, saying:
“Local police and emergency services closed the Eyre Highway on the Nullabor yesterday for the Flying Doctor to land and airlift a critically injured motorist to the Royal Adelaide Hospital. The patient – an adult male – was discovered by a passer-by who raised the alarm.”
“The RFDS retrieval team from Port Augusta Base performed life-saving procedures on the ground to stabilise the patient before departing Chadwick Roadstrip, some 100km east of the SA-WA border.”
The RFDS issued a thanks to the first responders, police and emergency services volunteers who they say helped their team every step of the way.
Traffic using the Eyre Highway was also required to stop to allow the landing and subsequent medevac operations take place, and the statement thanked commuters for their cooperation and patience during the event
The statement closed by advising that “the patient remains in a critical but stable condition at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.”
About the Royal Flying Doctor Service
The RFDS uses a fleet of aircraft to transport doctors, nurses, and other medical staff to patients who are located in remote and rural areas, often many hundreds of kilometres away from the nearest hospital or medical facility.
The service also provides medical consultations over the phone or via radio, and operates a number of telehealth services.
The RFDS is a not-for-profit organization, and is partially funded by the Australian government. It relies on donations from the public and corporate sponsors to maintain and expand its services.
Today, the RFDS is one of the largest and most comprehensive aeromedical organizations in the world, with 23 aircraft and over 1,300 staff members.
It provides emergency medical assistance to over 270,000 patients each year, and operates across 7.69 million square kilometres of the Australian Outback.
The RFDS is a truly iconic Australian institution, and is widely respected for the essential role it plays in supporting the health and wellbeing of rural and remote communities.
Editorial note: Donations to assist this unique and vital life-saving service can be made here.