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Ambulance delayed while man struggled for life

FENCE CRASH: Gympie fire and rescue officers and Gympie police work to stabilise a driver who ran off the road and collided with two fences on Apollonian Vale yesterday morning.
FENCE CRASH: Gympie fire and rescue officers and Gympie police work to stabilise a driver who ran off the road and collided with two fences on Apollonian Vale yesterday morning. Craig Warhurst

"WHERE'S the ambulance?" everyone was asking.

It was just after 9.50am and a man, apparently struggling for life, was lapsing in and out of consciousness, fitting and repeatedly standing and falling on the footpath in Apollonian Vale.

The scene was only 1.6km from Gympie Ambulance Station, which received the call at 9.48am, but had no ambulance there.

But it was 24 minutes before the nearest available paramedic arrived from Pomona at 10.12am, after being dispatched at 9.49am.

A Gympie-based ambulance, which had just delivered a patient to Gympie Hospital arrived at 10.16am.

A Queensland Ambulance Service spokeswoman said Gympie crews were already flat out responding to other cases or transporting patients in the area.

Witnesses, who said they had called in the incident a few minutes before, said the man seemed to have had some sort of attack while driving his Gympie Regional Council utility up the hill towards the Australian Hotel intersection.

The car's horn suddenly blasted and the vehicle accelerated up the hill.

The man may have collapsed on the steering wheel with his foot jammed on the accelerator pedal, they said.

The vehicle glanced between a power pole and a fence before crashing into a front yard.

Fire fighters administered first aid, including oxygen, and tried to calm the man.

Police directed traffic around the dangerous scene and the QFRS urban unit.

The Gympie ambulance crew did a quick turnaround at Gympie Hospital and arrived at 10.16am.

"Both crews found the 60-year-old male patient to be conscious and breathing with no obvious injuries. He was transported to Gympie Hospital as a precaution," the spokeswoman said.

"The Maroochydore Operation Centre supervisor requested a Gympie crew to attend as well.

"Before arriving, QAS was in constant contact with the QFRS crew, who were administering first aid to the man," she said.

"QAS operates under a system of dynamic deployment whereby the closest most appropriate vehicle is dispatched to an incident," she said.

Topics:  ambulance gympie

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