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Helicopter rescue service always on call

14 May 2014

Helicopter rescue service always on call

It is a fine line between life and death for many of the victims who are rescued by Northland’s dedicated air ambulance service.

In addition to the dramatic ‘SOS’ rescue of Todd Vercoe from Kaituna Bay on Saturday, Northland Emergency Services Trust (NEST) pilots attended a serious farming accident this month.

Waipu man, Carl Pereira, is lucky to be alive after being trapped under a three tonne harvesting trailer he was repairing, suffering a broken back, seven broken ribs and a cracked sternum.

Carl’s rescue was a combined effort between NEST, the local ambulance service, fire brigade and even the postman who was passing by at the time of the accident. Home from hospital after only eight days, and walking with a broken back fused together after only six days, Carl knows he’s extremely lucky to be alive.

“I’ve been told that my accident was so serious, I’m meant to be dead. Pinned under the machine unable to move, and with a head the size of a football from all the blood rushing to it, all I can remember is the rescuers telling to me to stay with them. The turning point was when I was transferred to the chopper, as I knew that I was on the home stretch and I would live.”

Rescuers were also particularly busy during the Easter break and Anzac Day, when more people travelled to Northland for the last days of the summer heat. In April alone, its Northland Electricity Helicopters spent approximately 90 hours in the air responding to emergency call outs.

Some of the callouts during the last month:
• Responding to the pre-term labour of twins in Whangarei and a breach birth in Kaitaia
• Rushing a person with a severe allergic reaction from Mitimiti to Rawene Hospital.
• Carefully transporting patient with a spinal injury from Paihia to Whangarei in less than an hour
• Attending to seven cardiac arrests and one case of Bradycardia (very low heart rate)
• Transporting a person with a dislocated hip from Kaitaia to Whangarei Hospital
• Responding to the near death of a person choking
• Working against the clock to race a victim with a brain haemorrhage to Auckland hospital

These rescues were possible thanks to the generous donations from local companies and the community to NEST during its 25th year fundraising drive supported by NorthPower said chief executive and pilot Peter Turnbull.

“NEST relies on every dollar it receives to provide a quality and reliable rescue service for the people of Northland. What we do is a 24/7 operation, so we always have a team on call to respond to urgent requests or serious accidents.”


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