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"It is a privilege to know Western Australians have our back. When they need us, they know we have theirs," RFDS Dr Sally Edmonds (pictured leftmost). 

Friday 29 May 2022 was an extraordinary day for the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Western Australia (RFDS). 

Our Flying Doctor teams were called to one of the most difficult medical emergencies in the last decade in an extremely remote location on the Kimberley coast. 

The rescue operation to help tourists injured after a boating accident at Horizontal Falls was one of the biggest challenges we’ve faced as an organisation since the onset of COVID-19.

Graphic: three jets responded to horizontal falls

The retrieval of nearly 20 patients was complex and challenging given the location some 250kms from Broome, with no telephone reception and only accessible by boat or plane.

RFDS Dr Sally Edmonds was one of the first responders on the scene.

“When I arrived, I knew that we had a big day’s work ahead of us," Dr Sally said. 

"I’ve never been on a remote pontoon with so many seriously injured people before. It was necessary to move those with fractured limbs and other injuries by stretcher two at a time to treat and then transfer them."

Four RFDS aircraft were dispatched to the closest landing strip (a 15 minute helicopter ride away from the boat) where the team continued to treat injured patients before transferring 12 people to hospital in Perth and a further five patients to Broome Hospital.

Graphic: Rebecca Tomkinson

The generosity of supporters like you make it possible for us to be there for our patients in an unexpected medical emergency like the Horizontal Falls incident. 

In the past year, more than 10,000 people from across Western Australia have relied on the Flying Doctor. We’ve flown nine million kilometres and made more than 16,000 safe landings to help those who need us most, delivering the finest care to the furthest corners of the State.

As demand for our lifesaving services grows, your support helps provide vital equipment and training for our highly qualified crews.

Please consider making a much-needed tax-deductible donation in support of the RFDS in Western Australia by Thursday 30 June.