NO ACCESS: Paramedics locked out at Funnel Bay
A WOMAN who got a fish hook lodged in her eye on Anzac Day had to be wheeled to a waiting ambulance in a wheelbarrow as paramedics could not access a locked gate to the beach.
The 35-year-old woman was at Funnel Bay beach when the incident happened, and paramedics were unable to unlock the gate that prevents vehicular access to the secluded beach, because they did not know the code.
Leonie Ager was walking her dog when she saw the drama unfold in front of her, and said the saga delayed the patient's care by about 30 minutes.
She said every avenue was explored to try to find the code to unlock the gate, with both Whitsunday councillor Jan Clifford and the Whitsunday Police being contacted - neither of whom had the number, or the means to find it.
A call was put out to get someone with bolt cutters to come and cut the lock, but Ms Ager said they ended up being stood down.
When the gate was installed last year, there was a large gap on either side of the gate, that would have been wide enough for a gurney to be wheeled through; there have since been large rocks placed in the gap, making it impassable.
Ms Ager said she was shocked and disappointed that emergency services couldn't get through the gate, and that it would have been an uncomfortable ride for the woman, who was eventually wheeled to the ambulance in a wheelbarrow.
"It's about an 800m walk and the road was very muddy," Ms Ager said.
Funnel Bay development director Christie Leet said it was a requirement from the council for the contractors to install the locked gate.
Mr Leet said the lock on the gate had a code, which had been passed on to the council, and it was then up to the council to give it out to whomever was seen fit to have it.
A Whitsunday Regional Council spokesperson said the gate and the lock had been vandalised on several occasions, which had resulted in the coded lock being changed several times.
The gate now has a lock which requires a key to be opened instead of a code, and has been made available to emergency services, the spokesperson said.