Anne Beadell Highway

Planning to cross ABH later this year from W to E. Will have satphone but SWMBO is worried about my health. I know it depends on each day but can anyone advise if there's reasonable traffic - say once every 3-4 hours. I know that won't help me if I have heart attack but at least SWMBO will be looked after (that's her only concern!!).
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Friday, Feb 14, 2020 at 18:48

Friday, Feb 14, 2020 at 18:48
Hi Peter,

It is a beautiful remote trip and you may be lucky to see only one or 2 group for the complete journey.

On one of our trips across there, were met our only small east of Tallaringa Well..

So for your every 3 or 4 hours, sorry but no.

Safe travels



Stephen
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Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Friday, Feb 14, 2020 at 19:18

Friday, Feb 14, 2020 at 19:18
.
G'day Peter,

Traffic depends somewhat on time of year. When you say "later this year" just which month do you mean?
Traffic on the ABH during the tour season, May to September is typically a vehicle per day approaching you. And if you are stationary there will be one catching you up at about the same rate. So you have a chance of a passing vehicle maybe every day. Beyond those months the rate drops.

We are all subject to unexpected health events, statistically more so as we get older. Heart incidents are possibly high on the list and the carrying a defibrillator can be as useful as a carrying a satphone. But I do endorse a satphone as primary, as even if carrying, and being able to use a defibrillator, it is very useful to obtain medical instruction.

It is most important to also have a list of phone numbers to call. Certainly the RFDS so as to be able to obtain medical advice and they would certainly alert other agencies if appropriate. I consider the next most important as being local police stations along your route, particularly their mobile numbers as they are often not at their stations. Just having the State police "1300" number is a delaying exercise and Triple zero can be ineffective when the operator is insisting on knowing the "nearest intersection road". They are geared up for the suburbs and cannot cope with country descriptions of location. They have no understanding of outback remoteness.

Of course, it is also most helpful if your wife or other passenger can drive your vehicle but if that is not already the case then it is probably too late.

The other very good option is to find a fellow 4WD'er to travel in convoy. It is as reassuring to your wife as it is practical.




Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: Member - rocco2010 - Friday, Feb 14, 2020 at 19:44

Friday, Feb 14, 2020 at 19:44
And even if somebody comes along remember you are still a good distance away from medical help if it is needed.

In 2008 I volunteered on a biological survey at Neale Junction nature reserve.

At the safety briefing the trip leader exhorted us to be careful, pointing out that while there were trained first aiders in the team an evacuation might involve a five or six-hour truck trip over very rough tracks to what was then the Tropicana gold mine exploration camp and the nearest place the flying doctor could land.

It was sobering advice.

But I hope you can get out there. It is wonderful country.

Cheers
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Reply By: Member - McLaren3030 - Saturday, Feb 15, 2020 at 07:22

Saturday, Feb 15, 2020 at 07:22
Hi Peter,

Fully endorse everything in the three previous responses. As an added safety measure, get yourself a PLB/EPIRB. These devices need to be registered, but once they are, your personal information/emergency contact details will be on file, and if the worst was to happen, then who you are and your exact location will be transmitted to the emergency services, vastly decreasing the time it takes to get help to your location.

Macca.
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Follow Up By: Member - Peter & Ann - Saturday, Feb 15, 2020 at 17:47

Saturday, Feb 15, 2020 at 17:47
Thks, Macca. Yes, have one of those but forgot to mention in string. Usually take it on trips such as this. Good thinking. Peter
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Reply By: Phil G - Saturday, Feb 15, 2020 at 09:19

Saturday, Feb 15, 2020 at 09:19
We are regular ABH travellers. Most traffic is July school holidays. Outside that it varies a lot. Last couple of trips I've done has been August and only saw other vehicles every couple of days if that. Gotta be self-sufficient.
Nearest medical help and airstrip is Oak Valley Community (usually has a nurse) which is about 150km or about 4 hours drive from Voakes Hill Corner, so yes you are very remote. On the WA side, I would guess Tjuntunjara Community would also have an airstrip and a nurse, and that is also a few hours drive south ofIlkurlka roadhouse. If you were able to summons help then it might be a couple of days for help to reach you but there are no rescue services out there. Unlike many other remote tracks, there are no mining villages anywhere on the SA side.
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Saturday, Feb 15, 2020 at 14:48

Saturday, Feb 15, 2020 at 14:48
Phil,

I think a couple of days is incorrect, a helicopter can land in a very small area, & sometimes does not need to land at all, so I think that help would still only be potentially a few hours away as opposed to a couple of days.

Macca.
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Follow Up By: Phil G - Saturday, Feb 15, 2020 at 15:56

Saturday, Feb 15, 2020 at 15:56
Macca,
Ann Beadell Highway is at least 400km from the nearest town, so not sure how a helicopter would get on for range or where it would come from.
Out of interest, in 2018 I was talking to a guy in Birdsville who got retrieved by helicopter from the middle of the Rig Road when he had chest pain. The helicopter had to come from Moomba and had to refuel at Birdsville on the way. When he got assessed at the Birdsville Clinic, they found his chest pain was nothing and discharged him!
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Sunday, Feb 16, 2020 at 07:12

Sunday, Feb 16, 2020 at 07:12
Yes Phil,

Being about 1,300 kms long, with Coober Pedy at one end & Laverton at the other, it would stretch the range of most helicopters, but there are station “airports” along the way. I still don’t think it would be days before help arrived, just hours. Medical personnel could be “dropped” in, but your point is taken.

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Follow Up By: Phil G - Sunday, Feb 16, 2020 at 10:22

Sunday, Feb 16, 2020 at 10:22
No station airstrips out there that I know of.Oak Valley has an airstrip as would Tjuntunjara. In 2007 a now defunct oil exploration company called Rodinia put in an airstrip adjacent to Mamungari but that is now overgrown. Medical personel would have to come from Port Augusta or Adelaide. I used to do retrieval work many years back, can't see a helicopter retrieval happening out there without planning and fuel drops but I don't know the range of helicopters these days.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, Feb 16, 2020 at 11:33

Sunday, Feb 16, 2020 at 11:33
The chances of a chopper recovery are slim out there - unless there's a chopper in the vicinity, from a station or an oil exploration mob.

Choppers are relatively slow, they only do 100-110 knots (180-200kmh) and even the Bell 206 Jetranger with a turbine engine, only has around 600km range with standard fuel tank.

Supplementary fuel tanks can be added, but are rarely used except in attempts at long-range flight records, or dedicated recoveries a long way out to sea.

Most piston engine choppers have quite a limited range, the smallest Robinson R22, 2 seater (as used on some cattle mustering efforts) only has a 380km range - while its big brother, the 4 seat, R44, only has a 560km range.

The restrictions on the smaller choppers is that if you need to be carried lying down, they can't do it, you need to be able to sit normally in a seat. Only in the Jetranger can you be carried lying down.

If you fall seriously ill, and call for help, the RFDS will work out the nearest RFDS-capable strip where they can land - and then you will need to be transported via ground transport to that strip.

Sometimes this could be an 80 or even 100kms ground trek, in a remote area. This is why you need good 2-way communication when in remote areas.

ExplorOz maps give all airstrip locations, but many remote airstrips are only suitable for light aircraft, due to inadequate construction, and a lack of maintenance.

An airstrip capable of taking an RFDS aircraft such as the Beech 200 King Air, has to be registered as an Aerodrome under CASR Part 139, and meet strict construction and maintenance requirements.

If you contact the RFDS, they will advise the locations they can fly from, and how far you might be from medical help, on any particular part of the ABH.

Remember also, the RFDS has 2,342 medical chests scattered all through the Outback.
These medical chests contain both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical items for emergency and non-emergency treatment for people in remote regions.
The RFDS will be able to give you the precise locations of these medical chests in the region/s you wish to travel.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Sunday, Feb 16, 2020 at 11:38

Sunday, Feb 16, 2020 at 11:38
Thanks guys.

Macca.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, Feb 16, 2020 at 11:53

Sunday, Feb 16, 2020 at 11:53
Never forget that the RFDS is there to help anyone, anytime, in remote regions, with medical assistance and evacuation (if needed) - at all times - and the service is completely free!

The RFDS is funded by donations from State Govts, from statutory bodies such as LotteryWest in W.A., and by donations from individuals, right through to large corporations.

The RFDS carries out an average of around 26 medical evacuations, daily, just in the N.T. and S.A.!

The important things are, when travelling in remote areas with possible health risks, is to ensure;

1. You carry good two-way communication ability;
2. Someone in your group or party has adequate First Aid skills;
3. You carry what ever medicines you are prescribed, and keep a list of what medications you're taking, and list what your medical history is;
4. You make sure that list is available to others who may need to revive/assist you;

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: qldcamper - Sunday, Feb 16, 2020 at 16:27

Sunday, Feb 16, 2020 at 16:27
If the pilot declares a mission of mercy and all staff on the aircraft vaulenteer for such a flight many of the regulations can be waved.
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Follow Up By: Candace S. - Monday, Feb 17, 2020 at 09:55

Monday, Feb 17, 2020 at 09:55
"Never forget that the RFDS is there to help anyone, anytime, in remote regions, with medical assistance and evacuation (if needed) - at all times - and the service is completely free!"

That's not what I (as a visiting US citizen) was told! As it was explained to me, visitors from countries with reciprocal agreements, such as the UK, would be covered for RFDS transport. In my case, well, hopefully I had insurance!

Interesting bit I came across while trying (futilely) to determine how much RFDS services might end up costing...

"Just recently, we had a traveller from interstate who was very unwell and he ended up paying $40,000 for a care flight to get him interstate... If someone comes to us and they have a heart attack we can fly them with the flying doctors to Brisbane, but that's where the service for the state ends."link
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Follow Up By: Phil G - Monday, Feb 17, 2020 at 10:32

Monday, Feb 17, 2020 at 10:32
Ron said: "The chances of a chopper recovery are slim out there - unless there's a chopper in the vicinity, from a station or an oil exploration mob."

You guys are still guessing and best to stick with the facts. This is probably the most remote country on the Australian continent in terms of access. You are bang in the middle of the biggest desert in Australia which is why it has a history of atomic bombs and rockets. Road access is very slow once you go north from the Aboriginal Business Road from Oak Valley.

There are no stations out there past Mabel Creek near Coober Pedy.
There is currently no mining exploration along the ABH until you reach the Goldfields. Oil exploration on the SA side stopped about 8 years ago when the company failed to find oil after drilling 2 wells out near Mamungari.
As a result the nearest helicopter is likely to be Ceduna or Woomera.Woomera is 811km from the WA border as the crow flies. The Eyre highway is 400km to the south. Yulara is 400km away.
The nearest airstrips are as I have stated. If a helicopter were required it would need to refuel at say Oak Valley then it is still 200km as the crow flies to the WA border
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Monday, Feb 17, 2020 at 10:37

Monday, Feb 17, 2020 at 10:37
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Hi Candace,

Do not confuse RFDS "rescue" with "relocation".
A more complete quote is.......

"Relocating people with serious medical conditions can be expensive.
Just recently, we had a traveller from interstate who was very unwell and he ended up paying $40,000 for a care flight to get him interstate, back home with loved ones, for the last stages of his life, Dr Walker said."

This was not a lifesaving exercise, it was requested relocation on compassionate grounds.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Ron N - Monday, Feb 17, 2020 at 11:18

Monday, Feb 17, 2020 at 11:18
Candace - The "$40,000 care flight" mentioned in the linked article (which is a good article, by the way), was not a medical "emergency" - it was a flight chosen by the person or their family, to return that sick person to their family home, so they could be closer to them and their family care.

The RFDS will treat and transport anyone, in an emergency health condition, to a place where they can receive the medical treatment they need to recover - for free.
I have never known anyone to receive a bill for emergency health transport/treatment by the RFDS.

However, if that person then needs further specialist treatment, or wishes to be moved to an area or hospital of their choice, then the cost of that specialist treatment or additional movement, is rarely free.

Overseas visitors who are injured or suffer life-threatening health events are still rescued and transported by the RFDS, for free - if the RFDS decides it is necessary.
As with all health and injury treatment, the RFDS "manages" each particular emergency case for satisfactory outcomes, the same as doctors and hospitals do.

It is likely, that if the injured/sick overseas visitor is found to be carrying travel insurance, then the injured/sick person may be presented with a bill for some medical services, such as ambulance transfer, and other incidental health costs.

It is foolish to travel without travel insurance - anywhere. I take out travel insurance, even when I just go interstate, it's not expensive. Travelling internationally, travel insurance is a necessity.

Ambulance transfer is not free in Australia for many Ambulance users.
The Ambulance Service is run by the St John Ambulance (a charitable organisation, the same as the RFDS) in W.A. and the N.T. - and mostly by the State Govts in other Australian States.
I believe Queensland and NSW residents receive free Ambulance transport, due to levies they pay on the likes of utilities.

Australians on welfare benefits, and Australian veterans with a health card, are generally the only patients who get free Ambulance transport.

Australians with private health insurance will receive a bill for Ambulance transport in W.A. and the N.T., which is then paid by their health insurer.
Overseas visitors are likely to receive a bill for Ambulance transport in all States.

Around 55% of Australians have private health cover, the rest of the Australian population is covered by the Govt's Medicare public health care system.
Our Australian health care system is divided into two parts - the Public Health Care system, and the Private Health Care system.
The Public HC system is free to all Australians under the Federal Govt-run Medicare, whilst the Private Health Care system charges all patients, who then have to recover as much as their costs as they can from their health or travel insurer.

Here is a good article (below) on RFDS operations. The RFDS operates on a 210km (130 mile) radius limit for chopper operations, every emergency outside that radius, is carried out by fixed-wing aircraft.

RFDS operations

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Candace S. - Monday, Feb 17, 2020 at 11:32

Monday, Feb 17, 2020 at 11:32
Allan,

Fine, but that still doesn't explain if RFDS rescue services would be free for me! Or any visitor from a country without a reciprocal agreement.

Maybe my internet search skills are wanting, but I haven't found a clear answer to that question. The RFDS site says "overseas visitors are encouraged to take out adequate travel insurance when travelling in Outback Australia." A hint, but not a clear statement.link

I did find another hint on a QLD site: "The RFDS provides free health care services to all Australian residents..."
link

The RFDS gets the vast majority of its revenue from the Commonwealth Government. So it's reasonable that the service is not free to non-residents (except visitors from countries with reciprocal agreements).link
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Follow Up By: Candace S. - Monday, Feb 17, 2020 at 11:45

Monday, Feb 17, 2020 at 11:45
Ron,

Thanks, but I can't get that Jems page to load.

I think I'll just go look for a general phone number or email address and ask the RFDS directly. :)
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Monday, Feb 17, 2020 at 12:10

Monday, Feb 17, 2020 at 12:10
Candace, I believe the RFDS statement on their website, under "What we do", is unambiguous (my Capitals).

"Using the latest in aviation, medical and communications technology, the RFDS works to provide emergency medical and primary health care services to ANYONE who lives, works or travels in rural and remote Australia."

RFDS - What we do

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Monday, Feb 17, 2020 at 12:13

Monday, Feb 17, 2020 at 12:13
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Yes Candace, my internet search skills are no better. "Hints" maybe, or maybe imprecise expression.
Perhaps they like to keep their options open.
I am a donating "member" and tried several links that are not readily available on the Qld. public website but with no better success. Note that each RFDS state division has slightly differing structure and websites. I only tried the Qld. site.
But I do think that, in line with other Australian agencies, the RFDS treats residents and visitors alike when it comes to emergency aid.
Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: Candace S. - Saturday, Feb 15, 2020 at 11:42

Saturday, Feb 15, 2020 at 11:42
When I crossed west to east in August 2019, I saw on average one vehicle a day. Possibly overtaking me, or going the other direction.

During my June 2018 jaunt from CP to Emu and back, I definitely saw at least one vehicle per day. On the way west, three other vehicles were going through the dog fence gate just before me. But they were travelling faster and I never saw them again. During the return trip, I recall encountering several vehicles.

Based on that, I concluded that during peak travel season out there, if you were stopped on/by the AB you would likely see at least one vehicle within 48 hours.

But if you get off the main track (Vokes Hill, Dingo Claypan, etc.), traffic will be lower. Not everyone going across will visit those side attractions. I definitely didn't encounter anyone else during my side trip to Dingo.

BTW, my 2019 MT permit originally directed me to strictly stay on the AB! I had to push back to get permission to go to Dingo Claypan or, for that matter, even T1 and T2. If that is the norm, then that's another deterrent to people straying from the AB.
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Follow Up By: Member - Peter & Ann - Saturday, Feb 15, 2020 at 17:53

Saturday, Feb 15, 2020 at 17:53
Candace, that's interesting. I hadn't thought travelling to T1 & T2 required extra permission - thought it was all covered. Will follow up. Thks, Peter
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Follow Up By: Candace S. - Monday, Feb 17, 2020 at 10:17

Monday, Feb 17, 2020 at 10:17
Peter,

Could simply be that the person (elder?) reviewing permit applications that particular week was grumpy?!

When I asked via email for them to reconsider the restrictions, someone in the Ceduna office checked with someone in Oak Valley. Then I got a got a new copy of the permit, with the hand-written restrictions blocked out!


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Reply By: My Aussie Travel Guide - Saturday, Feb 15, 2020 at 22:06

Saturday, Feb 15, 2020 at 22:06
We travelled in early June when we did the ABH - was on it 12 days and saw no one for the first 7. We must have found a quiet time.
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Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, Feb 15, 2020 at 22:51

Saturday, Feb 15, 2020 at 22:51
.

Peter, I have sent you a Member Message.



Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: Gronk - Sunday, Feb 16, 2020 at 09:30

Sunday, Feb 16, 2020 at 09:30
Peter, have you got a health issue ? If not, but you think you may have, get it looked at.
Most times, the only thing that can kill you quick is the heart. Do a stress test.......in my case I did a CT angiogram to determine if there was any artery narrowing as well. ( only 25%, so nothing to worry about )

Just because your wife may seem fully fit, she should have a full checkup as well.

Does your wife drive......does she drive whatever you are going to do the trip with ? If not, teach her.

After all that, get out and enjoy yourself !!

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