‘One of the saddest days in ambulance history’
A NORTH Queensland paramedic who was killed while on his way to an emergency was found in the wreckage by his devastated colleagues.
The man, 32, was yesterday remembered as a "diligent and professional" officer who cared deeply for the Mackay community.
He died moments after his colleagues arrived at the scene on Mackay-Eungella Road, west of Mackay, about 8.05am.
The officer had been attending a critical incident when he lost control of the ambulance, which rolled several times and hit a tree.
He was sole occupant of the ambulance.
The tragedy was described as one of the saddest days in the history of Queensland Ambulance Service by assistant commissioner Gerard Lawler.
"You would not get any worse circumstances in a day's work than to attend a colleague in such horrific circumstances," he said.
Mr Lawler said he could not recall a road death involving a responding paramedic in his more than 40 years of service.
The young father had been working in Mackay for about six months as an advanced-care paramedic, Mr Lawler said.
He had about 10 years' experience, including outside of Queensland.
Dozens of paramedics yesterday left their own tributes on social media for him.
One wrote: "While I was working with him two thing were always clear; if anything happened he had my back, and above all else he loved his kids and would do absolutely anything to give them the best life possible."
Mr Lawler said he cared deeply about the communities he served.
Paramedic union United Voice said it was not appropriate to comment on the incident but offered its support to its members.
"Our thoughts are with everyone who is impacted by this tragedy, including family, friends, and the first responders who attended," Queensland secretary Gary Bullock said.
"We will await the outcomes of the investigation to determine if any further action is needed."
Queensland Police Service is also investigating.