Mackay paramedic Craig McCulloch has been identified as the 32-year-old man killed in the crash near Benholme.
Mackay paramedic Craig McCulloch has been identified as the 32-year-old man killed in the crash near Benholme. Queensland Ambulance Service

Mackay paramedic tragedy: QAS confirms identity

THE death of highly-respected paramedic Craig McCulloch in a horrific Mackay region traffic crash marks "one of the saddest days in the history of the Queensland Ambulance Service".

Responding after news of the tragic incident began to flow across the state, Acting Deputy Commissioner Gerard Lawler mourned the sudden loss of the 32-year-old man.

Mr McCulloch died when his ambulance left Mackay-Eungella Road about 8am on Monday.

After his vehicle struck a tree, Mr McCulloch succumbed to his injuries at the scene, about 40 kilometres west of Mackay city.

Mr McCulloch, who has been serving in the Mackay region for about six months, was responding to a medical emergency which required lights and sirens to be activated

"Despite the best efforts of the bystanders, before other emergency services arrived, and the efforts of paramedics and fire service officers, the officer unfortunately died at the scene," Mr Lawler said.

Mackay paramedic Craig McCulloch died when the ambulance he was driving hit a tree.
Mackay paramedic Craig McCulloch died when the ambulance he was driving hit a tree. Emma Murray

Attending an incident in which a colleague, a "friend and a loved one", was killed proved "most distressing" for responding paramedics.

Mr Lawler described Mr McCulloch as "highly respected within his profession and no doubt by his family".

"What I can say is that every support is being provided to those that were responding to the scene," he said.

"I have just recently spoken with those who attended and those supporting officers who attended. Every support is being provided to those folk in these tragic circumstances which we have experienced ..."

The crash was "being investigated by the Queensland Police Service" and "will no doubt come under the framework of the coroner here in Queensland".

The scene of the crash near Benholme.
The scene of the crash near Benholme. Emma Murray

Mr Lawler said ambulance officer's attendance at the crash involving "one of their own" as "the most challenging circumstances that a paramedic or emergency services officer will do".

"I'd just like to, again, pass on our condolences, our love and our prayers to the family, the officer's colleagues and loved ones after this tragic event has occurred," Mr Lawler said.

The crash was reported to 000 by a "community member who lived nearby", and members "of that community" rushed to the paramedic's aid "very, very quickly".

"They did all they could until the arrival of paramedics and other emergency services. Every effort was provided ... we commend the efforts of those folk," Mr Lawler said.

Mr McCulloch was described by Mr Lawler as "very experienced", having served across Queensland for "nine or 10 years".

 

Support flows in wake of fatal crash

TRIBUTES and offers of support have flowed thick and fast after paramedic Craig McCulloch was killed in a traffic crash in the Mackay region.

Member for Dawson George Christensen said his "heart goes out to this man's family and friends" and that the incident "should make us all reflect on the gravity of what our emergency services personnel do for us every day".

State Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said it was an extremely sad time for the Mackay region and that Mr McCulloch, 32, "died serving us".

"My sincere condolences to his family, friends and fellow officers," she said.

Member for Mirani Stephen Andrew also offered his condolences.

"Today is a very sad day for the family andfFriends of one of our brave frontline QAS officers lost in the line of duty. May God be with loved ones in this time of need," he said.

"They provide an amazing essential emergency service to our community that cannot be understated or properly measured due to the immensity of what these officers deliver."

More than $7000 in donations had been gathered by QAS Legacy Scheme as of 10.30am.

"With deep regret we have been notified of the death of a QAS officer while responding to a case … ," a Facebook post read.

"We will be contacting the family at an appropriate time to offer the support of the QAS Legacy Scheme.

"If you would like to donate to help support this officer's family and the other families receiving support from QAS Legacy Scheme, donations can be made directly to the QAS Legacy Scheme."

The State Emergency Service (SES) Mackay Regional Unit has also expressed its condolences.

"We are deeply saddened by the death of a Mackay paramedic today, lost in the line of duty," a Facebook post read.

"Our sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues."

Members of the public from across Queensland have taken to social media to extend their respects to Mr McCulloch's family, and to thank him for his service.

"God bless all paramedics and emergency services who risk their lives to save and protect us," one woman wrote.

"Sincere condolences to the family of this paramedic, who has made the ultimate sacrifice.

"Bless you, thank you and may you rest in peace."



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