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Busy Day For Rescue Helicopter

Busy Day For Rescue Helicopter

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter has had a very busy in the Wairarapa today, including an usual rescue where the helicopter crew was able to organise the rescue of two men and their boat.
Just after 8am the helicopter was called to Ngawi, in the Southern Wairarapa, for a medical emergency.  The helicopter, with two Wellington Free Ambulance paramedics onboard, arrived at the scene to find a 49 year old Wanganui woman suffering from severe abdominal pain.  She was transported to Wellington Hospital and has since been released.

At about 2:30 pm the helicopter was called to Masterton Hospital to pick up a 65 year old man suffering from a leaking anurism.  The man was treated by a doctor and nurse from the Wellington Hospital ICU Flight Team.
While heading back to Wellington  Hospital  the helicopter crew were notified of a boat on fire near Glenhu Rocks in the Southern Wairarapa.  Two men were aboard the boat  and they had declared a "mayday" with the intention of abandoning ship. 

The helicopter dropped the medical patient to Wellington Hospital - he is currently in surgery - and after a quick refuel and change of role equipment headed to the boat on fire.

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter arrived overhead to find the boat , no longer on fire,  about 500 metres off of Glenhu rocks.  Once the fire was extinguished the men onboard found the boat had no power and was slowly drifting towards the rocks, but was otherwise OK.   
The  original plan was to winch the two men from the boat, leaving it adrift and most likely hitting the rocks and being damaged beyond repair.
"As we were descending to do the rescue our pilot spotted a vessel about five miles further out to sea" says Westpac Rescue Helicopter crewman Dave Greenberg.  "We spoke to the guys onboard the damaged boat, Ussco, and they said they were OK at the moment so we flew out to the other vessel.  When we arrived overhead the fishing boat they contacted us via marine radio and agreed to try and tow Ussco".
The helicopter was able to land on a flat piece of Gledhu Rocks and remained running in case urgent evacuation of the boaties was required.

"About 45 minutes later the fishing boat arrived and was able to get a tow line onto Ussco, and safely towed them away from the rocks" says Greenberg.
"This was a classic case of not letting ourselves get  caught up with tunnel vision" says Westpac Rescue Helicopter Pilot Harry Stevenson.  "We could have gone in, winched the two to safety but they would have lost their boat.  Locating the other boat a short distance away allowed both the men and their boat to be saved - a great result all around".
We understand the Ussco was enroute from Wellington to Gisborne when the fire occured.  The men onboard are currently working with Police and the Rescue Coordination Centre to work out how to get the boat towed safely back to Wellington .
The Westpac Rescue Helicopter is currently back in the Wairarapa, picking up a sick child from Masterton Hospital and transporting him back to Wellington Hospital.  No other details are available regarding the child or his condition.



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