RAAF called in to ferry obese patient

Queensland Health, in northern Australia, was forced to charter a Hercules aircraft from the Defence Force because it had no ambulances or planes big enough to transport a 240kg [530lb] patient.

Even though the woman was deemed well enough to travel by road from Mount Isa to Townsville the Queensland Ambulance Service had no vehicles capable of carrying her.

She was even too large to be safely carried in King Air light aircraft operated by the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

A Defence Force spokesman confirmed a C-130 Hercules was despatched from the RAAF base at Richmond, Sydney after a request from the Queensland government.

The cost to taxpayers was not disclosed but a Hercules aircraft costs about $13,000 an hour to operate, putting the total cost of the nine-hour operation at more than $100,000.