CareFlight teams flew through Cyclone Nathan to bring four patients to Darwin as strong winds and rain lashed the Northern Territory in March. To begin with, prompt action by workmates and resort staff saved the life of a man whose leg was dragged into a tree mulching machine at a wilderness resort near Jabiru west of Darwin on 24 March, according to a report from CareFlight (NSW), part of the CareFlight group. Crew of Darwin’s CareFlight TIO Rescue Helicopter dodged low cloud, wind and rain from ex-tropical cyclone Nathan to land at waterlogged airstrip close to where the man was injured beside a billabong. CareFlight medics said only the quick action to apply a tourniquet prevented the man from bleeding to death after a rope tangled around his leg and dragged him into a tree mulching machine. Despite his injuries the man, believed to be aged in his 30s, remained conscious as he was flown under treatment to Royal Darwin Hospital.
Concurrently, doctor and nurse teams were attempting to fly to Gapuwiyak in a CareFlight King Air turbo-prop aircraft where a man to Darwin with a cardiac condition was awaiting transfer to Darwin. An initial attempt failed when weather closed the airstrip and the aircraft was resent later on the same day in hopes of a break in the weather. CareFlight’s Nhulunbuy-based King Air also brought two patients to Royal Darwin Hospital around the cyclone area for ongoing treatment to medical conditions. In addition to the four flown from Arnhem Land, CareFlight planes brought a further four patients from Katherine and Yarralin to Darwin. One was a man whose foot was crushed while loading cattle onto a truck at a cattle station 30 km (18 miles) south of Katherine.