Doug Dawson

Doug Dawson

A call came in from a station north of Southern Cross - the caller was on his own. He had broken his leg but he had managed to drag himself over 100 metres to his house and to a phone. I was the pilot on duty and I had flown into the station some 3 1/2 years before. A call to the patient confirmed the strip had been inspected in the past few days - "it's in good condition," he said. "But has a few wildflowers on it." With this information the plane was prepared for flight. The crew consisted of Nurse Sue Salter, Doctor Mike Mears, engineer Shane Parslow and myself, Captain Doug Dawson. As the house was about 1-2 kilometres from the strip Dr Mears loaded on a piece of additional equipment: his mountain bike.

The trip was uneventful, until over the top of the strip. There were plenty of wildflowers all right, but no one had mentioned the cows! I decided to fly over the cows in the hope of frightening them off the landing strip. After flying up and down twice, I had managed to clear the strip and we landed.
Sue sorted the medical equipment to be taken in, while Shane and I walked through the flowers to check the rest of the strip for rocks and holes. And Mike? Well he had his bike together and was on his way to Station house within minutes.
Twenty minutes later we heard the sound of an approaching truck with Mike behind the wheel. The vehicle had no driver's side door, very little exhaust, and a stock crate for cattle on the back. Dr Mears had driven back to get the medical equipment and us. The gear was loaded in the crate, plus Sue, Shane and myself - there was no passenger seat in the front, and we headed back to pick up the injured man.
Once the patient was stabilised, he was placed on a vacuum mattress and carried out to the truck. With some difficulty he was loaded on to the stock crate, and with Mike on his bike, Shane driving, Sue tending the patient, and me holding on, the convoy made their way back to the plane. The wheeled stretcher and the stretcher-lifting device fitted to the aircraft made loading swift and relatively easy. Once the patient (and bicycle) was secured, the aircraft was started and we returned to Kalgoorlie.
Something different I suppose, but the sort of task for which we exist. It was good to have all the different trades and professions.


(World Around Unit 9 Page 98)

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