Following the crash of a helicopter at 7:45 p.m. on Thursday into the sea off north Queensland, a passenger swam for help for almost 800 metres with a broken leg just to bring attention to the incident.
The injured passenger’s attempt to raise the alarm in the state led to the deployment of a large-scale search to find the pilot who went missing after the crash. It was a Robinson R22 helicopter en route to Port Douglas from Cooktown after completing a fishing trip and crashed 800 metres off the camping area of Noah Beach. The onboard passenger, 43, fractured his leg but managed to reach the shore to alert authorities.
According to Brisbane Times, police confirmed that the man borrowed a phone from one of the four campers he found on the beach and had to walk to high grounds for mobile reception to call the authorities about the incident. He also told police that he wanted to return to search for the missing pilot and helicopter owner, who was a 50-year-old man. The Queensland Ambulance Service was called to conduct the rescue operation, but a police spokesperson said that the passenger did not accompany the team to the water.
Senior Constable Russell Parker appreciated the passenger’s effort. “He did very very well to get from that crash site to the beach. He’s a very, very lucky man,” he said as quoted by the ABC.
Police stated that there were no witnesses who saw the crash but there were ruins that were found to the north of Noah Beach, which was suspected to belong to the same helicopter. The paramedics treated the injured passenger’s chest and leg and admitted him to Mossman Hospital. His condition was stable and was discharged on Friday morning.
The rescue team already began the search for the missing pilot along with five vessels and a helicopter. Police said they would investigate the shoreline on foot, use four wheelers and quad bikes also for the mission. They also confirmed to work in collaboration with the State’s Emergency Services.