'Little Paddy got on school fete ride before parents knew'
THE five-year-old Toowoomba boy critically injured in a school fete ride fall got on the ride without his parents even knowing, a helicopter rescue crewman revealed today.
AGL Action Rescue Helicopter aircrewman Dan King was part of yesterday's crew who treated and airlifted Patrick O'Sullivan to a Brisbane hospital after his 10 metre fall from the ride.
Mr King said a family friend of the boy told how he had managed to dart away from his parents and get on the ride before they even knew he was gone.
"We don't believe his parents were aware he was on that ride,'' he said.
"Unfortunately (in the business of a school fete) these things happen very quickly.''
Patrick is the grandson of LNP candidate Barry O'Sullivan, was with his family at his primary school fete in Highfields, north of Toowoomba, on Sunday.
The prep student was thrown from the fast-spinning ride called The Frisbee at about 2pm.
Little Patrick remains in a coma and in a critical condition.
''At the moment our entire focus is just to get our little mate's eyes open up there and get him back on his feet,'' he said.
Mr King said the prayers of the AGL crew were going out to Patrick and his family.
"Our thoughts definitely go out to them and we wish the little fellow a speedy recovery,'' Mr King told a media conference this afternoon.
Mr King told of how the helicopter was already on task to Brisbane when it got the call that there had been a terrible accident involving a young boy near Toowoomba.
"We responded as rapidly as we could,'' he said.
The crew were diverted straight to the hospital by ambulance at the scene after it was decided that Patrick would need to be airlifted from Toowoomba hospital.
Mr King said it was a tough situation for everyone, particularly the very distressed mother.
"It's always tough when someone gets injured particularly when it is a child.''
He said the turnaround time at the hospital was very short.
"No time was wasted.''
A tail wind meant the return trip for the crew to Brisbane was only about 25 minutes, compared to over half an hour normally.
"We were able to take mum on as well this time so she was able to be there with her boy.''
"You could only imagine how tough it would be watching your injured boy being flown away in a helicopter,'' he added.
Mr King said the crew tried to provide comfort to the mother as she battled to take in what had happened at the school fete. She said very little during the flight.
He said dealing with kids being injured was one of the toughest parts of the job.
"A lot of us have kids as well.''