Flying Doctor gorge rescue in the remote Kimberley

Date published

31 Jul 2020
Gorge retrieval

A Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) crew hiked through rocky terrain in the dark to rescue a 26-year-old woman who was stranded from her injuries in the remote Dolerite Gorge on Saturday (25 July).

The woman was hiking with other guests staying at Mount Hart Wilderness Lodge when she fell onto sharp rocks after swinging on a vine at a swimming spot in the gorge.

The RFDS Operations Centre, which handles more than 500,000 calls per year, swung into action coordinating the aircraft and crew after receiving the call for help from the Lodge’s manager Brad Leahy.

RFDS crew landed on a flare-lit remote airstrip near Mount Hart, located 450kms away from Broome, which had been organised by the Lodge’s manager Brad Leahy just two hours after he made the call for help.

An RFDS doctor, flight nurse and pilot hiked approximately 1km in the dark through steep, rocky terrain into the gorge carrying vital medical equipment with the support of a doctor from the WA Country Health Service and other guests at the Lodge.

The patient was assessed and treated by the RFDS crew before beginning an arduous three-hour journey on foot back to waiting vehicles and the RFDS aircraft. The rescue mission took around five hours and the woman was flown to hospital, arriving just after midnight.

RFDS WA CEO Rebecca Tomkinson said she was enormously proud of the Broome-based crew and everyone on the frontline at RFDS who deliver an essential service for people at their most vulnerable moments, regardless of where they are in WA.

“The RFDS retrieved 1870 patients in the Kimberley in the last 12 months, making it our busiest region. Our crews in Broome flew 1.6 million kilometres in that period,” she said.

Facts and Stats

 The Royal Flying Doctor Service Western Operations is a medical charity on 24/7 standby for aeromedical emergencies and healthcare services for anyone who lives, works or travels in regional and remote WA.

 Our fleet of 18 aircraft are fitted out as mobile intensive care units. Flight doctors and nurses perform emergency retrievals and deliver primary healthcare services in some of WA’s most remote locations.

 The RFDS works in partnership with the WA Country Health Service, St John’s Ambulance and other as a vital link in WA’s health and emergency services network.

 Dolerite Gorge is located 5km north of the Mount Hart Wilderness Lodge in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia.