Anniversary rekindles sad memories of tragic accident
FIFTEEN years ago Mackay was shocked by the fatal crash of a rescue helicopter that killed three people including paramedic Craig Liddington.
Pilot Captain Andy Carpenter, crewman Stewart Eva, and ambulance paramedic Craig Liddington, were on the Bell 407 chopper when it crashed into the ocean 15 minutes into a flight to a routine medical retrieval on Hamilton Island on October 17, 2003.
Early Saturday morning Tracy Eastwick was shaken when she heard the news that her friend and colleague Craig Liddington had died.
As a paramedic, Ms Eastwick is used to being surrounded by grief and heartbreak. "We're trained to a high standard to help people deal with that," she said.
"But it's different when it's people who are your loved ones," she said.
When Ms Eastwick returned to the Mackay offices of the Queensland Ambulance Service she immediately felt his absence.
"The atmosphere was really, really quiet," she said.
"But at the same time people had to put their chin up and get on with the job because there was still patients to see everyday and a service to provide to the community."
Next Wednesday October 17, Ms Eastwick will join friends, family and colleagues at St Joseph's Catholic Church to commemorate the anniversary of the helicopter crash.
"It's important that 15 years on that we don't forget him - or any of them."