Helicopter rescue op: ‘Keep drones away’

 

A DRONE has almost hampered efforts to rescue an elderly man after his boat washed onto the rocks at the Gold Coast seaway this morning.

The Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service was diverted to the scene from a routine training operation which turned into a real life rescue when the boat ran into a rock bank at Stradbroke Island this morning just before 10am.

A Westpac helicopter spokesman said the operation was delayed "a number of minutes" while crews were forced to wait for a nearby recreational drone to land before the rescue could be completed safely.

A rescue helicopter has air lifted an injured boatie to hospital after he crashed onto rocks at the Gold Coast Seaway. He’s in a stable condition.
A rescue helicopter has air lifted an injured boatie to hospital after he crashed onto rocks at the Gold Coast Seaway. He’s in a stable condition.

It has renewed calls for operators to exercise caution when flying drones in and around the South East Queensland coastline.

"For us, drones can be near impossible at times to spot on patrol and during rescue operations, so we're really urging drone operators to exercise caution, particularly when we're flying nearby," said Westpac Helicopter crewmen Tim Wilson.

"The rescue was delayed by a few minutes until we could safely reach the gentleman. "Thankfully it didn't change the overall outcome, but in different circumstances those few minutes could make all the difference."

The patient was flown to Doug Jennings park at Main Beach were Queensland Ambulance crews transported him to Gold Coast University Hospital in a stable condition.