Photos from a winch rescue in Carnarvon Gorge on Tuesday, August 2.
Photos from a winch rescue in Carnarvon Gorge on Tuesday, August 2. LifeFlight

Woman winched in helicopter rescue at national park

LIFEFLIGHT has captured the dramatic moment crews winched a woman from a remote Queensland creek bed.

The South Burnett woman was hiking through Carnarvon Gorge in Central Queensland when she fell ill and required urgent medical care.

Her son ran 10km along a bush track to a ranger station, raised the alarm and returned to his mother for help.

LifeFlight's Roma-based Surat Gas Aero-Medical Service helicopter was called to the scene at 2.35pm.

Winch operator and LifeFlight Roma base manager Bryce Duke said the isolated location of the patient and the sheer cliffs that surrounded the site meant that landing the helicopter was not an option.

It meant a winch rescue was the only possibility.

"It was an incredibly tight spot and we were getting a lot of wind through the gorge and off the canyon walls," Bryce said.

"The trees below meant that we couldn't get any lower, so we made the decision to winch from a significant height.

A LifeFlight doctor and Queensland Ambulance Service  paramedic were winched down to the site and were able to stabilise the woman for transport, before winching her back up into the helicopter on a stretcher.

"Because of the nature of the job, we were working at maximum cable extension for the winch - it look approximately two-and-a-half minutes for us to winch the medical team down; and about the same to bring the patient back up into the helicopter," Bryce said.

"The entire family were entirely grateful for us arriving - I think they were dreading the prospect of carrying the lady out on foot for 10 kilometres. In fact, I think they'd still be walking out if they carried her out by foot."

The woman was flown to Roma Hospital in a stable condition.

South Burnett

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