People smiling in front of helicopter

CQ Rescue Helicopter Service

When you travel in to Moranbah in Central Queensland, you’re greeted with a sign saying ‘Moranbah, so much more than mining’. While it does have a large mining industry, Moranbah also has much to offer for locals, FiFo workers, and visitors of all kinds.

One such thing on offer is a dirt bike track on the edge of town. The track has a range of jumps, bringing exciting challenges to both pros and amateurs alike.

Having moved to Moranbah in 2015 for work, Brad Poultney decided that picking up dirt biking with his son Riley was an excellent way to have a hobby that they would both enjoy. In October 2021, Brad and Riley were out on the track when Riley came around a corner to find his dad unconscious after a serious fall. Riley placed Brad on his side as he had been taught, while an ambulance was called.

Brad was taken to Moranbah hospital, where the doctor was concerned about neck and spine injuries. What was even more concerning for the doctor was Brad’s significant confusion and his inability to recall anything longer than a few minutes. The decision was made to transport Brad to Mackay Base Hospital, and so CQ Rescue Helicopter Service was called.

Driving from Moranbah to Mackay would take two and a half hours, which is far too long when dealing with extensive injuries. CQ Rescue got Brad to Mackay in 45 minutes, where he underwent a month of rehab, two surgeries, physical and occupational therapy.

While Central Queensland is a beautiful area, the vastness of distance between towns means that it’s vital for services like CQ Rescue to exist. Having been a flight paramedic himself at one point in his career, this was the first time that Brad got to experience being on the other side.

‘This is so incredibly important to the wider community. And given my understanding of how important helicopter emergency services are and how time critical some of the responses are, communities like Moranbah absolutely benefit from the 45-minute flight as opposed to the two and a half hour driven when people need the critical care of the hospitals.

I actually don't remember much of the incident itself, but I'm quite passionate about the helicopter-based emergency services, being an ex-flight paramedic. I cannot over emphasize how important these machines are. But that’s why they’re important to me. That helicopter has a very distinctive sound and every time I hear it I smile, knowing they helped me when I needed them so I could go home to my family.’

CQ Rescue Helicopter Service operates 24/7 from Mackay, serving regional and remote communities up to Townsville, south to St Lawrence, west to the Bowen Basin and more than 200km offshore to the edge of the Great Barrier Reef - an area that is more than four times the size of Tasmania.

BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) is proud to be a platinum partner, providing CQ Rescue Helicopter Service with the vital funds needed to ensure that timely care is available to those in the region.