Fraser barge’s rescue drama

The Fraser Island barge operator is denying he put profits above the health of an ill child.
The Fraser Island barge operator is denying he put profits above the health of an ill child. Gympie Times

OPERATORS of the barge between Rainbow Beach and Fraser Island have denied claims they ignored the medical needs of a critically ill and unconscious child.

Manta Ray barge operator Kostas Ladas blasted what he said were false and malicious Facebook claims.

The Manta Ray Facebook site was ablaze with postings claiming the barge had put profit before humanity by waiting 20 minutes to get a full load before transporting the child.

All lies, a distressed Mr Ladas said.

"Absolutely not. You can ask the ambulance," he said.

"There was a nurse on board and she attended the child. The child was stable.

"The wait was about four minutes.

"We told the parents to get on first, so they would be first off, and we loaded the other vehicles because it was quicker (than explaining things to stop them driving on). The ambulance only appeared as we left the island."

Mr Ladas said the only avoidable delay was caused by the man driving the child, who had alighted from his vehicle to yell at the barge crew.

"He was very abusive," Mr Ladas said.

"I've been here 40 years and you can ask the ambulance at Tin Can Bay how we always respond to emergencies.

"We would never delay transporting a sick child.

"There was no call from the ambos or from the man and there are helicopter emergency services and paramedics on the island and they were not called."

One Facebooker defended the barge.

Tim Stafford said there were many lifesaving services on the island and parents had a duty of care to use them before blaming others.

"If it was so critical then why was he not airlifted off the island direct to Hervey Bay hospital?" he asked.

Topics:  fraser island rainbow beach rescue

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