Rescuers sent on 'goose chase'
THE Queensland Ambulance Service yesterday denied it took almost two hours to find car crash victim Kay Magick after she hit a tree on a lonely stretch of road near Kilkivan in January.
The recently widowed Gympie hairdresser received a broken sternum, crushed kneecap and severe bruising after her Subaru Forester blew a front tyre while hurtling along the Wide Bay Hwy at 100kph.
Kay says she was forced to lie in excruciating pain for one-and-a-half hours before a police officer turned up and "made a few phone calls", and then another 15 minutes before an ambulance arrived from Gympie.
The officers had been told to look for her on the wrong side of Kilkivan, Kay said. They also told her the callout had been cancelled at one stage, before being reinstated.
But the QAS yesterday said it took less than an hour to reach Mrs Magick and that the call was never cancelled.
Once taken to Gympie, Kay was airlifted to Brisbane and then spent a month back in Gympie hospital recovering from her injuries.
She speaks highly of her care and treatment at the hands of the ambulance officers who eventually found her, and of her care while in hospital.
But she says her long wait in agony as the sun set over the South Burnett that evening was unacceptable, and it was time 000 call centres were returned to the areas they service.
A couple travelling in the opposite direction saw the crashed car, called 000 and stayed with Kay the whole time.
"I could have died in the time it took the ambulance to get there," she says.
When the tyre blew out, Kay says she completely lost control of the car and it began careening from one side of the road to the other, before leaving the road altogether and hitting a tree.
"I had no control. Thank God it was a lonely stretch of road."
QAS North Coast Region assistant commissioner Chris Broomfield said yesterday the communications centre at North Buderim received the call and dispatched an ambulance crew that day at 5pm.
"An initial crew from Gympie station was dispatched to 49 Wide Bay Hwy, Bells Bridge. As the Gympie crew was the closest available unit to this location it was dispatched," he said.
"The ambulance crew travelled along the highway for some distance unable to locate the incident.
"At 5.23pm further information was received from the scene providing as to the exact location and the crew arrived on scene at 5.57pm. This represents a response time of 56 minutes.
"Due to the Gympie unit having already been dispatched to Bells Bridge, when further information was received from the scene the Gympie unit was the closest vehicle and responded."