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10 August, 2021

Croc attack response a concern for some locals

Portland Roads locals are concerned about the time it took for a helicopter to arrive to collect two croc attack victims when a road ambulance was 45 minutes away in Lockhart River.

By Matt Nicholls

By MATT NICHOLLS

PORTLAND Roads locals are concerned about the time it took for a helicopter to arrive to collect two croc attack victims.

Jayson Watkin, owner of The Temple guesthouse, said questions needed to be asked about the response time to ensure that tragedies don’t occur.

“These two fellas were lucky because they managed to get themselves free and had a medic on board the mothership,” he said.

“If this was a tourist or a local, it would have been a different story.”

The croc attack happened on Friday around 5pm when two Australian Army soldiers decided to take a smaller boat from their barge and ended up taking a swim.

Within minutes one of the men was under attack.

His mate jumped to his rescue and reached for his knife that was strapped to his leg, stabbing the croc in the process.

Both men suffered injuries, with the first victim in a serious condition, albeit not life-threatening.

Speaking from Cairns on Saturday, QAS senior operations supervisor Denis O’Sullivan said the first soldier, a man in his 20s, suffered serious cuts and tears to his head and upper body.

The second, a soldier in his 30s, has injuries to his arms.

“It’s reported both persons at the location were going fishing,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

“I think it’s important for everyone to be croc-wise in croc country. That’s the message that we should all adhere to.

Mr O’Sullivan said a nearby army medic applied “vital” first aid, including a tourniquet to stem the bleeding.

Queensland Ambulance Service said the Rescue 700 helicopter departed Thursday Island Hospital at 5.18pm with a doctor and flight paramedic onboard.

“The helicopter had to be reconfigured for two patients,” a QAS spokesperson said.

“It was estimated that the Rescue 700 arrived at Portland Roads at 7.11pm.”

The helicopter then met an RFDS plane at Lockhart River Airport around 90 minutes later.

“QAS doesn’t operate a station at Lockhart River,” the spokesperson said.

“A mobile response to an incident in the region is provided by the Lockhart River Primary Health Care clinic when logistically possible.”


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