Rescue all in a day’s work

A job on Fraser Island after a tobogganing crash.
A job on Fraser Island after a tobogganing crash.

AS AN aircrewman, Jerm Cutelli is responsible for co-ordinating each mission flown by a typical four-man rescue helicopter crew.

He can find himself operating a winch to rescue people out of high seas, flying patients from hospital to hospital or landing on the Bruce Hwy after a serious crash.

Mr Cutelli has spent the past seven years flying with the RACQ CareFlight Rescue service, formally known as the AGL Action Rescue Helicopter.

Based on the Sunshine Coast, Mr Cutelli has flown hundreds of missions to Fraser Island, Hervey Bay Hospital and other emergencies across the Fraser Coast.

He is among the emergency services responders that are called to help the region during a disaster and those the Fraser Coast Chronicle will be profiling this flood season.

Mr Cutelli's days are unpredictable and can have him travelling anywhere from the Fraser Coast to northern New South Wales.

"You just don't know until the phone rings," he said.

"Our hours are set by people's injuries."

Most of their work is made up of transferring patients from regional hospitals to get more specialist care in Brisbane, Mr Cutelli said.

He remembers the rescue of a three-man crew off the racing yacht Ausmaid in 2008 as the most difficult task he has faced in the past seven years.

"It was pelting rain, 40-50 knots, eight metre seas," Mr Cutelli said.

On the Fraser Coast, beachside crashes of tourist-laden four-wheel drives were common until last year.

"We'd get there and there would just be patients everywhere," Mr Cutelli said.

He praised new laws that regulate the number of people allowed in each vehicle for reducing serious crashes on the island.

It takes only 30 minutes for the crew to fly from Sunshine Coast to Fraser Island, so the RACQ helicopter often becomes the first port of call if someone needs to be taken off the island quickly.

The service has flown to the Fraser Coast, including Fraser Island, 60 times since July this year.

In the 2012/13 financial year, the service flew to the Fraser Coast 157 times, including 58 missions to Fraser Island.

There were 13 flood rescues, eight search and rescue missions, 12 traffic crashes and 61 hospital transfers.

These missions become expensive very quickly as the helicopter costs $3500 each hour to run.

Mr Cutelli said a major part of their job was fundraising to cover that cost.

"That is one of our secondary jobs," he said. "We rely heavily on the community."

Visit to find out for about the service or to donate.

RACQ CareFlight

Three helicopters are in service across the Sunshine Coast and Bundaberg, including a backup. Another three operate from the Gold Coast and Toowoomba.

Each mission is tasked with a typical four-man crew which includes a pilot, aircrewman, paramedic and a doctor. If winching is required, a rescue officer can be added to the crew.

Topics:  racq careflight rescue helicopter rescue

Have your say on Wednesday market at Pier Park

A vibrant market with over 80 selected stalls NO second hand. Organic veggies, Local fruit, Live Music, Special KIDS ZONE and so much more.

They already operate a Saturday market.

Not too late to host Girls' Night In to defeat cancers

girls night in

There is still time for Queenslanders to host a Cancer Council Girls

Local Partners

Steve Irwin's final days through dad's eyes

Bob Irwin with his son Steve.

'You never expect that’s the last time you’re going to see your son'

Kristie doesn't mind being the third wheel in Survivor final

Kristie Bennett in a scene from Australian Survivor.

SOLO player will take on Survivor's power couple Lee and El tonight.

Scary hoping Posh and Sporty will re-join The Spice Girls

Mel B

Mel B hoping Victoria Beckham, Mel C will re-join The Spice Girls

REVIEW: Michael McIntyre has Brisbane in stitches

Michael McIntyre in a scene from his TV series Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow.

BRITISH comedian is in the country on his Happy and Glorious Tour.

Cliff Richard doesn't need Rod Stewart's help with legal bills

Sir Cliff Richard

"'Don't worry, I'm loaded. I won't keep you to it.' "

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals