Victoria Minister for Health David Davis
Historic Milestone For Victoria’s Air Ambulances
Victor P Taffa
Minister for Health David Davis today paid tribute to Victoria’s air ambulance service that is celebrating 50 dedicated years of flying patients in critical life threatening emergencies.
Around 100 people including flight paramedics, pilots, navigators and past patients and families today gathered at Essendon Airport to mark the 50th anniversary of Air Ambulance Victoria.
“Air Ambulance Victoria is the oldest aero medical helicopter service in Australia and one of the oldest in the world.” Mr. Davis said.
“Air Ambulance operates five emergency response helicopters and four fixed-wing planes and last year alone transported more than 1,800 patients by helicopter and nearly 5,000 patients by plane.”
“Throughout the past five decades, many tens of thousands of lives have been saved by this world class service. Today we have the opportunity to reunite some of those patients with the flight crews.”
Among the patients recognised at the celebration today was the very first patient of Air Ambulance Victoria, Mr. Peter Connell.
Peter was returning home from work on the Snowy Mountain Hydroelectric Scheme 50 years ago when he lost control of his car near Corryong and was transported in Air Ambulance Victoria’s first plane to the Austin Hospital.
Also recognised today were Ms. Jennifer Condon, the first patient to receive an in-flight blood transfusion in 2011, and Mike Marshman and Hayden Jones who were rescued during the Sydney to Hobart race maritime disaster in 1998.
“I would like to recognise and acknowledge the 64 flight paramedics, pilots, navigators and nurses, both current and past, who have made a significant contribution to Air Ambulance Victoria.” Mr. Davis said.
“It is important to also pay tribute to the flight nurses, pilots and patients who have sadly died in the line of duty. Nine people lost their lives in two separate incidents in 1970 and 1986.”
Mr. Davis said the Victoria Coalition Government looks forward to continuing working with Air Ambulance Victoria and the community in providing the best possible clinical care and transporting those in need to specialist medical services.