The Australian Army has provided critical support to the emerging Queensland flood crisis.
Two Army MRH-90 Taipan helicopters from the School of Army Aviation, based out of Oakey, deployed to RAAF Base Amberley on Friday, February 25 to assist Queensland Emergency Services with search and rescue efforts.
Commander Army Aviation Training Centre Colonel Dave Lynch said the helicopters, crewed by Army personnel and Defence contractors, were working professionally and methodically under extremely difficult weather conditions.
“Since commencing our support, we have conducted four successful rescues, and supported numerous others as a backup platform if surface options were unsuccessful,” Colonel Lynch said.
"Multiple options were sometimes necessary as time was of the essence, and because of the darkness, grave concerns were held for the safety of stranded residents due to rapidly changing conditions.
“These rescue missions have resulted in 13 members of the community being saved from flood-affected areas, and many more evacuations are in progress."
On Friday evening, the Army aviation crews were on task for approximately five hours, conducting two rescues and they remained postured to support further tasks throughout the night.
“We responded to a situation in Boonah where three people were stranded in a vehicle and our aircrews were able to airlift them to safety,” Colonel Lynch said.
“Another person was rescued at Gatton. Our aircrew helped the person who was clinging to an upturned boat and hoisted them to safety.”
Colonel Dave Lynch said the conditions had been challenging but his crews were trained and prepared for these situations.
On Saturday, February 26, as rain continued to fall, making visibility difficult, Army aviation crews conducted another two rescue missions.
“Our aircrew responded to a property at Regency Downs, where we rescued a mother, infant and four children, who were surrounded by rising floodwater,” Colonel Lynch said.
“We also successfully located three missing personnel who were last seen in Woolshed Creek and transported them to safety at RAAF Base Amberley”.
Colonel Dave Lynch is currently located at the local disaster management centre in Toowoomba and coordinating the Army’s aviation contribution to rescue efforts.
Commander of Army Aviation Command, Major General Stephen Jobson, said the Army would continue to work with the Queensland Government to provide support to the flood effort.
“The situation in south-east Queensland remains serious and life threatening as rain continues to fall, resulting in more and more people become stranded”, Major General Jobson said.
“Our aircrews, like all emergency service staff, are working together to ensures the safety of the community.”
For more Army aircrew imagery of the south-east Queensland flood response, go to the Defence image gallery.