Greg Robbins and his wife Cam were counting down the days to the arrival of their first child when a freak accident saw Greg onboard RAC Rescue.
Margaret River has been Greg’s home for the last 16 years after he moved to Australia from Hamilton, New Zealand.
He’s a keen surfer and, on the afternoon of 31 March 2023, he was excited to hit the waves at Gas Bay Beach in Gnarabup.
Greg paddled out just before 4pm and was still in the surf around 6pm when he took off on what he thought was a great wave.
Unfortunately, he was sucked up and over directly onto a rock shelf and he felt a large impact at the rear of his rib cage. He could barely breathe but managed a few calls for help.
Thankfully, an off-duty lifeguard was sitting on the rocks nearby and saw it all unfold. She coordinated an immediate response, including a group of people to carry Greg from the water to the shore.
Greg was transported by RAC Rescue to Royal Perth Hospital. The flight crew onboard was Pilot Craig Bowman, Aircrew Officer Jon Stewert-Dawkins and Critical Care Paramedic Madelyn Coertzen.
“When Madelyn arrived, I remember feeling totally safe and reassured,” Greg said. “I was made secure inside the aircraft and remember commencing the journey. The crew on the chopper were amazing. I cannot thank everybody involved enough.”
Greg was in hospital for two nights before being released early. His injuries included five fractured ribs, a punctured right lung and a partially collapsed left lung.
Ten days later, Cam went into labour. Ocea Blue Robbins was born on Saturday 15 April and Greg was there to deliver her.
In July, Greg and the family reunited with his rescuers at the Bunbury Rescue Helicopter Base.
Left to right: RAC Rescue Aircrew Officer Jon Stewert-Dawkins, Greg, Cam, Ocea and RAC Rescue Critical Care Paramedic Madelyn Coertzen.
“I remember seeing Cam at the scene and being really worried that we might end up with two patients on our hands,” Madelyn said. “It was clear that she was far along in her pregnancy and it was obviously a very stressful situation.”
“It is so lovely to see them all doing so well.”