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Flood Victims Winched from Rooftops in Australia

RACQ Life Flight special mission helicopter, the AW139 “Land Rover” winched flood victims to safety in Northern NSW, Australia

Floods hit Queensland and NSW, in Australia’s east coast, stranding residents on bridges and rooftops and forcing tens of thousands to flee their homes

Flood Victims Winched from Rooftops in Australia
RACQ LifeFlight Rescue, March 01, 2022 - A pregnant woman has been winched from a tinnie, after crawling out the window to escape a flooded home, in one of several rescues carried out by the Land Rover LifeFlight Special Mission helicopter crew, in Northern NSW.

The specially trained rescue crew came to the aid of 19 people and one dog, in back to back rescues today (Mon 28th), tasked by the NSW State Emergency Service (SES), as the flood crisis swept through the Lismore and Coraki areas.

“Overall, the devastation at Lismore is overwhelming – that cannot be emphasised enough,” said LifeFlight Paramedic and Rescue Crew Officer Brad Solomon.

“Today has probably been the most harrowing I’ve come across since the 2011 Queensland floods,” Mr Solomon said.

In the rescue of the pregnant woman this afternoon, after considered assessment by the crew, the flight paramedic was skillfully winched down to a tinnie, secured outside her window.

While balancing in the small boat, which was being rocked by the helicopter downwash, the paramedic carefully helped her climb safely out the window and held her steady.

She was then able to be hoisted up to the helicopter, accompanied by the paramedic, and flown to safety.

At another inundated property, three adults climbed a ladder from a tinnie which was floating in floodwater, so they could reach their roof, in order to be winched.

When the chopper arrived, one man was already on the roof, signalling to the aircraft, while a man and woman were in the small boat.

Due to the flood torrent, the boat started drifting and the man on board had to push it back towards the shed, while trying to prevent the ladder from falling into the water.

Once it was steady, the two occupants climbed up to the roof, with one of them managing to also carry a dog with her.

The crew conducted multiple hoists, to bring the trio and the dog, into the safety of the helicopter.

Earlier in the day, the Land Rover LifeFlight Special Mission helicopter crew carried out a remarkable rescue of three adults and two children.

The children were wearing lifejackets and had been attached to their house by ropes, to keep them safe while help was on the way.

When the chopper arrived, the highly-trained senior rescue pilot brought the aircraft into a hover, just near the roof.

The adults carefully detached the children from the ropes and passed the kids up to the aircrew inside the helicopter, before stepping off the roof themselves, into the cabin.

A family of seven was also rescued from another flooded house.

They were winched in multiple hoist operations from the verandah of their home, into the safety of the Special Mission helicopter.

The helicopter is usually based in Queensland, but is currently operating out of Ballina, after it was tasked by the New South Wales State Emergency Service (NSW SES), to support their response to the flooding emergency.

Anticipating the requirement, NSW SES strategically prepositioned the chopper on Friday, ready for quick response.

Every detail of the Land Rover LifeFlight Special Mission helicopter is specifically designed for emergency response deployment.

The aircraft is part of LifeFlight Australia’s commercial operation, which supports the work of the community helicopter fleet, through our profit-for-purpose model.

In the 2021 Calendar Year, RACQ LifeFlight Rescue’s community helicopters, Air Ambulance jets, Critical Care Doctors, Flight Nurses and Flight Paramedics came to the aid of 6,846 people.

Flood Victims Winched from Rooftops in Australia
Families winched in hoist operations with rescue helicopters

Flood Victims Winched from Rooftops in Australia
As the sun goes down on a terrible day of flood emergencies, Toowoomba RACQ LifeFlight Rescue and SGAS choppers are standing by

  See also

AU LifeFlight Australia Air Ambulances
Air Medical Ambulance Services
AW139 in AU Australia Air Ambulances





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