The PC-24 jet’s long-haul capacity and ability to reach speeds of more than 700km/h enables RFDS crews to travel further and faster than ever before.
In celebration, 80-year-old retiree Jonathan Milford recounts how he benefited from the new jets, after suffering a heart attack while holidaying in Broome with his wife last year.
Milford was revived on the jet, 10 days into a 17-day camping safari in July last year. The couple had returned to their campsite after a walk on the beach, when Milford collapsed with chest pain soon after sitting down to dinner.
Four medical teams came to the rescue, co-ordinating a time-critical journey to Perth, where the specialist care Milford required was available. The 2,000 km long journey would have taken 23 hours by road.
Rushed to Broome Hospital by St Johns Ambulance, Milford went into cardiac arrest and was given CPR to resuscitate him.
Diagnosis revealed a blood clot in a main artery and doctors at the hospital contacted a cardiologist at Royal Perth Hospital. On his advice, the RFDS was tasked with monitoring his vital signs during transfer to Perth for further treatment.
Milford said: “By good fortune, the RFDS had a brand-new jet sitting on the tarmac at Broome, bristling with medical equipment and a crew on call. I distinctly remember being wheeled out through the cold damp night air shortly after midnight and slotted by the RFDS doctor into the remaining space in the jet before being flown to Perth.”
Eight months later, Milford said he feels grateful to be back at work volunteering as a bush regenerator. “I can thank my good luck, my wife’s attention and the four brilliant medical teams for my full recovery.”
Rebecca Tomkinson, RFDS Western Operations CEO, said: “The RFDS is a vital link in the state’s health and emergency services network and we are very proud to have the aircraft, our highly trained pilots, doctors and flight nurses to combat the tyranny of distance and benefit all who live, work and travel across Western Australia.”