A man who suffered second degree burns to 80 per cent of his body said he owes his life to the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Geoff Pinch was on a boys’ trip in the Simpson Desert in Queensland when things went horribly wrong. He began to slip into a boiling hot spring.
“It was like going into quick sand basically,” Mr Pinch said.
Mr Pinch’s friend Nigel said he heard “an almighty scream” from his mate as he fell in.
The water in the artesian bore was 90C.
“I didn’t quite realise the severity of the water until I yanked him out and that’s when I realised he was extremely burnt,” Nigel said.
Mr Pinch said he couldn’t do anything until he reached the bottom then pulled himself up with Nigel’s help.
Nigel said he had to act quickly as his friend’s body began to just shutdown. They had no phone or radio contact in the middle of the desert.
The pair realised they had to get Mr Pinch’s clothes off and douse his skin with water and ice.
An emergency beacon was then activated and Mr Pinch was loaded into a car and raced down the Birdsville Track.
It took an hour for them to reach the Mungerannie Hotel as Mr Pinch began to lose consciousness.
Asked if he thought he was going to die, Mr Pinch said, “yes”.
“I just thought my time was up, I don’t know what else to say,” he said.
“I was just trying to hang in there.”
- Abandoned puppy covered in marker pen in ‘sick’ case of animal abuse
- Woman launches racist attack on Asian driver
- Man shot dead by police after threatening officer with knife
Luckily, the Royal Flying Doctor Service had a crew in the area running a health clinic.
The plane was quickly diverted to Mungerannie while another flew from Adelaide.
Stations owners also drove hundreds of kilometres as the pub set up an outback ER on the verandah.
Nigel said more than 20 or 30 people worked on his friend. They almost lost him a few times but eventually he was on a plane to Adelaide.
Mr Pinch’s wife Julie was told to expect the worst.
“I just thought I’d lost him,” she said.
Mr Pinch spent five months in the Royal Adelaide’s burns unit in excruciating pain.
He still has scars from that day but he has learned to walk again and is back at work. Mr Pinch is forever grateful for the angels of the outback and his quick-thinking mate.
“He definitely saved me,” Mr Pinch said.
He added he will head back up to Queensland eventually to thank those who saved him.
“That’ll be a good opportunity to have a couple of beers and say thank you very much,” Mr Pinch said.