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Busy Day For Rescue Helicopter

Busy Day For Rescue Helicopter

The Wellington based Westpac Rescue Helicopter had a busy evening, after
picking up a woman suffering from a heart attack on the South Island and
then a woman who severely broke her leg on Wellington's Mt Victoria.

Just before 5pm the NZ Rescue Coordination Centre notified the helicopter
crew that there was a 406 beacon going off on Mt Owen, in the South Island.
Because the Nelson Rescue Helicopter was already on a mission the Westpac
helicopter was sent.

While enroute the helicopter crew was notified that more information was
available about the beacon going off, because it was one of the new 406 MHz
digital beacons.

"Thanks to the 406 beacon sending more information then the old type beacons
the rescue coordination centre knew the exact location of the beacon, who
the beacon belonged to and were able to find out where the people with the
beacon were headed" says Westpac Rescue Helicopter crewman Dave Greenberg.
"The GPS equipped beacons take a lot of search out of 'search and rescue'
and allowed us to find a woman suffering from a heart attack without delay".

On our arrival our Wellington Free Ambulance paramedic began treating a 57
year old Stoke woman who appeared to be having a heart attack. The group
was with a tramping club group walking towards Granity Pass Hut on Mt Owen
when she began to have chest pains. When the pain did not let up the group
decided to set off the beacon.

"The beacon probably saved her life" says Greenberg. "We had her in Nelson
Hospital within 20 minutes of taking off from the mountain".

The woman is being treated in Nelson Hospital.

Soon after arriving back at Wellington Airport the Westpac Rescue Helicopter
was called to Mt Victoria in the middle of Wellington. A 19 year old woman
fell and severely broke her leg and Wellington Free Ambulance paramedics
felt it was safer for the patient to be flown, instead of a 20-30 minute
carry down a steep hill.

The Te Aro woman is currently being treated in Wellington Hospital.


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