Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Dedicated Rescue Chopper For Coromandel Takes Flight

Dedicated Rescue Chopper For Coromandel Takes Flight

One of the two Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopters takes flight on Boxing Day to help cope with the emergencies of Coromandel’s rapidly swelling summer population during the holiday period. The chopper will be based at Whitianga and will provide a dedicated 24-hour, seven-day-a-week service to the Thames Coromandel area and Great Barrier Island.

In previous times the lone Auckland Rescue Helicopter has flown from its base at Mechanics Bay, Auckland, on emergency missions to the area, but the commissioning of another chopper by the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust means a machine can be closer at hand to help cope with emergencies as the area experiences a swell of up to 130,000 people during the holiday period.

ARHT Chief Executive Bob Parkinson says as well as adding a second rescue helicopter to the fleet, the initiative to base one at Whitianga until Anniversary Weekend at the end of January was the result of a 70 per cent increase in missions to the Thames Coromandel region between 2006 and 2009.

“During the corresponding period last summer we flew 40 missions to the Thames Coromandel area and to Great Barrier, but we had to turn down another 10 because the helicopter was already in use attending to someone else,” he says.

“Having a dedicated rescue chopper based at Whitianga will reduce response times to emergencies, helping the local First Response service, Police, Search and Rescue and Fire deal with the huge demand that comes with the influx of people to the area during the summer holidays.”

Generous sponsorship from local businesses has also ensured the Whitianga service, which will cost $50,000 for the five weeks, goes ahead. Sponsors who have contributed to the cost include Tony Richard Toyota, Watts Group, Troy Wheeler Contracting, Pro Floors and Whitianga Ice and the Coromandel Senior Settlement Trust.

Westpac Rescue Helicopter crews will take it in shifts to cover the Whitianga service, which will be co-ordinated by Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust Helicopter Manager Greg Brownson.

This holiday season marks Mr Brownson’s 27th year as a crewman. He joined what was then the Surf Lifesaving Helicopter Squad as a volunteer crewman in 1983 when it was based out at Piha Beach, and the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust as a full time crewman in 1991.

Over his 26 years of service Mr Brownson has been on more than 1800 missions, and he says while the service has changed a lot over the years in terms of being more professional, with crew exceptionally highly trained and multi-skilled, the immense satisfaction of helping people in emergency situations remains the same.

As a crewman he has been on plenty of trips to the Thames Coromandel area, and was on board the new chopper’s first mission in August where a forestry worker who had been seriously injured was winched out.

“It took us about 25 minutes to get there from Auckland, and if we’d been on the ground in Whitianga it would have only have taken us about eight minutes,” says Mr Brownson.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Now-Former Cyclone: States of Emergency Declared

A state of emergency has been declared in Buller, Greymouth and Christchurch, with fears some homes are at a high risk of flooding over the next day.

High tides overnight were likely to bring large waves to Kaikōura and Christchurch about 9pm, and to Taranaki, Kāpiti and Nelson about 2am.

The latest severe weather update has upgraded watches for heavy rain in Christchurch, Banks Peninsula and North Otago to full warnings...More>>


Kauri Protection: Waitākere Forest Closure Proposed

At the 20 February meeting of the Environment and Community Committee, the council proposed to close the forested areas of the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park, with some exceptions, by 1 May 2018. More>>


'Hit And Run' Raid: NZDF Had Reports Of Civilian Casualties

The NZDF received intelligence updates within one or two days of the August 2010 SAS raid in Afghanistan that reported civilian casualties, including the death of a child, new OIA documents reveal... it appears they did not bother to investigate nor made any effort to help the victims. More>>


Christchurch Public Meeting: Complete U-Turn By Labour And NZ First On TPP

The TPP might have been re-branded as the CPTPP but it's still the same bad deal says Professor Jane Kelsey, New Zealand's expert on international economic regulation. More>>


Commerce, Etc: Thicker Bright Line For Real Estate

Revenue Minister Stuart Nash has confirmed the bright-line test on residential property sales will be extended from two years to five years in legislation currently making its way through Parliament.More>>


Prison Inspections: Reports on Manawatu and Paremoremo Released

The Office of the Inspectorate today released reports into Manawatu Prison and Auckland Prison (Paremoremo), the first two resulting from a programme of inspections of New Zealand prisons. More>>

Whistle Blowers: Government To Review Law On Protection

Work has begun on a review of the Protected Disclosures Act 2000, Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins said today. More>>





Featured InfoPages