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Rescue Helicopter Pays Respects To Wahine Victims

Rescue Helicopter Pays Respects To Wahine Victims

Late this morning the Wellington based Westpac Rescue Helicopter paid its respects to the 53 people who lost their lives during the Wahine disaster by flying over Barrett's reef and the flotilla commemorating the 40th anniversary.

Life Flight's  founder the late Peter Button was one of those who was at Seatoun Beach helping passengers come ashore and watching in horror as the tragedy unfolded. Peter was an amateur fixed-wing pilot and knew that a helicopter would have helped save lives in that situation and thought "there has to be a better way".  So, despite being a plumber with no financial backing and no helicopter's license, Peter decided that the Wellington region needed a rescue helicopter service and went about setting one up. 

"The rescue helicopter and air ambulance services we have in place today are a true testament to what one man with a vision can do" says Life Flight General Manager Kevin Allan.  "Today, along with all New Zealanders, our thoughts are with those whose lives were touched by the tragedy 40 years ago.  Perhaps those who lost loved ones can take some comfort that over 20,000 people have been helped thanks to events witnessed by one man on April 10, 1968".

Today The Life Flight  Trust operates the Wellington-based Westpac Rescue Helicopter and two fixed-wing air ambulances, one based in Auckland and one based in Wellington . 

ends

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