Mount Isa aeromedical team helping patient

Outback Heroes: Clonagh Station staff shine

Date published

21 Aug 2023

Staff from Clonagh Station are being praised for their actions to help the RFDS transport an injured Station Hand in the outback.

Living in outback Queensland comes with its challenges, especially in an emergency.

Clonagh Station Manager Peter and his wife Emma experienced this firsthand when one of their Station Hand, Sarah, was injured after falling off her horse.

“I am a nurse myself, so I did a quick spinal assessment, and I was quite happy to send her into town for a check-up, but then we started to notice she had some memory loss,” Emma said.

“She started to repeat herself, so I rang the RFDS.”

RFDS helping a patient

Emma was connected with our RFDS Mount Isa team who quickly dispatched Senior Pilot Sam, Senior Doctor Jason, Doctor Joe and Flight Nurse Lissa to retrieve Sarah and transport her to hospital for further assessment.

As the airstrip was more than a km from the station, Emma arranged her staff to take two vehicles to drive our RFDS team from the aircraft to the station to see Sarah. She was then transported on a stretcher, in the back of a Ute, for her flight.  

“I stayed at the house with the kids and then after a little while longer I saw my husband running across the lawn towards the house,” Emma said.

“He quickly rounded up more staff from the station to assist the team as the aircraft had become grounded and they were running out of daylight for take-off.”

While there were some flares available at the station that day there weren’t enough flares, lanterns or toilet rolls available to light an airstrip.

Our team were quick to make the call and arrange for QAS to transport Sarah with Dr Jason and Dr Jo to Cloncurry Hospital for further assessment but praised the staff from Clonagh Station for their help.

“When we talk about team, the team is not just our Doctors and Nurses; it’s everyone in the community around us who help,” Sam said.

“Without them, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do out there.”

RFDS staff

RFDS Senior Doctor Jason said it was heart-warming to know the community always has our back in times of need. 

“You often hear stories about how the RFDS helps patients, but when we need help, we know that we will be taken care of,” says Jason.

“It’s times like these when we see a community come together."

Peter and Emma kindly offered our Pilot Sam and Flight Nurse Lissa accommodation for the night at the spare Station Hand quarters so they could safely fly back to base in the morning.

“They offered us nice clean warm bedrooms, towels, showers and toilets,” Lissa said.

“We were fed and watered, you can’t beat country hospitality!”

Sarah has now recovered from her fall and is back working at the station on light duties.

To help ensure remote communities and stations are prepared for the unexpected, we are calling for the kind spirit of the community to make a donation.

Together we can light up and maintain airstrips right across Queensland.