Rescue jet sent to Bali as it flew baby's body home
THE jet which flew a critically-injured crash victim home from Bali was being prepared to transport the dead baby found on the side of a Sunshine Coast road when it was called up.
RACQ LifeFlight air ambulance division chief pilot Paul Regli and his crew had a busy lead-up to their Bali dash to pick-up 21-year-old Coast man Jacob Mabb.
Mr Mabb sustained serious head injury in a fall from motorbike on Sunday last week and had been in Indonesian hospitals in an induced coma as a result.
He was yesterday listed as being in a critical condition in the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital.
Mr Regli said his crew were preparing for a Queensland Health mission to fly a baby's body from the Sunshine Coast to Rockhampton when they were notified of Mr Mabb's case about 3pm Thursday.
The body had been found by road workers early Thursday morning after falling from the roof of a funeral transport vehicle while being taken from Rockhampton to Brisbane.
Mr Regli said Mr Mabb's medical retrieval had been confirmed by 5pm.
He and a co-pilot flew RACQ LifeFlight retrieval registrar Dr Emma Butterfield and a flight nurse from Brisbane about 6.40pm to the Sunshine Coast before continuing on to Rockhampton.
They stopped in Darwin about midnight to refuel the Challenger 604 jet and clear customs before continuing on to Denpasar to touch down about 2.30am Friday.
They headed for a hotel to get some rest.
"Given we had done 12 hours of duty we ended up having to do 12 hours of rest, which is mandatory for us," Mr Regli said.
Dr Butterfield and the flight nurse were up after about three hours and in a private ambulance headed to the hospital where Mr Mabb was with his parents.
She said they assessed him for about three-and-a-half hours before starting the trip to the airport.
"On the way back there was a lot of traffic," Dr Butterfield said.
"It was stationary in some places so the ambulance went onto lights and sirens."
Mr Mabb and his parents boarded the jet with the medical crew for take-off about 4pm.
The plane flew at a lower-than-usual altitude so sea level cabin pressure could be maintained.
It reduced the risk of Mr Mabb's injury being worsened by expanding air bubbles in his body.
"The thing with trauma patients is they may well have a little bubble of anywhere in their body really," Dr Butterfield said.
She and the nurse monitored him constantly, conducting blood tests and recording his progress.
Mr Regli said flying low added about an extra hour to the flight and a refuel stop at Darwin.
The jet arrived in Brisbane about 2.30am Saturday.
"It was quite emotional I think for all of us," Dr Butterfield said.
An online fundraising page started last week has since been closed at the request of Mr Mabb's family.
It raised $49,894 in three days.
"Jacob is now safely in Brisbane," a message on the page read.
"Thank you all for your your continuing support.
"The Mabb family are incredibly grateful."