The AGL Action Rescue Helicopter crew spent several hours in the search for a crash on Fraser Island.
The AGL Action Rescue Helicopter crew spent several hours in the search for a crash on Fraser Island. AGL Action Rescue Helicopter

Confusion for rescue crews in Fraser Island night crash

A RESCUE helicopter crewman has called for tourists not to drive in the dark on Fraser Island after a crash sent emergency services on a long and confusing search for possible disaster in the middle of the night.

Two people from Orange escaped serious injury after their 4WD flipped on Friday night and landed upside down in shallow water.

The 23-year-old male driver was airlifted to Hervey Bay Hospital with suspected spinal injuries, but not before both an AGL Action Rescue Helicopter crew and a Fraser Island paramedic spent hours trying to find the pair.

About 8.15pm on Friday, the helicopter crew was called to the island after an EPIRB distress beacon was activated.

Just before setting off from its Bundaberg hanger, the crew received word of a crash about 5km south of Indian Heads.

"We were straight away thinking is this the EPIRB," AGL action rescue helicopter air crewman Gary Craig said.

Instead, it turned out to belong to a German tourist who came across the site of the crash, turned on his distress signal, and then kept on driving south.

At the same time, the Fraser Island paramedic was dispatched to find the crash.

Instead, she found the driver and his female passenger walking along the beach, three kilometres away from where their vehicle had flipped.

Mr Craig said after hours of trying to contact the man who had activated the EPIRB, the crew eventually waited at the Happy Valley helipad for the paramedic to arrive with the injured man.

He said the man was airlifted to Hervey Bay between 11.30pm and midnight, more than three hours after the crew was sent out.

He has questioned why there were two vehicles driving in an area that is notoriously difficult to navigate.

"It was pitch black, very dark night, no moon," he said.

"It was extremely windy.

"They were very lucky."

The female passenger was reported to be shocked, but otherwise uninjured.

Mr Craig said the pair had lost the vehicle and most of the possessions inside.