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Bigger helicopter to future proof rescue service

Bigger helicopter to future proof Auckland rescue service

The people of the greater Auckland region and Hauraki Gulf are to get a greatly improved rescue helicopter service.

The Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust (ARHT), which operates the distinctive red and yellow Westpac rescue helicopter, is to buy a more capable aircraft to meet the growing needs of the region.

Auckland Rescue Helicopter Service was a world leader when it pioneered the use of helicopters for surf-lifesaving on Auckland’s West Coast beaches in 1970.

It was also the first rescue helicopter trust in Australasia to employ its own Advanced Paramedics in 1997.

ARHT CEO, Rea Wikaira, said to remain a world-class air-rescue and aero-medical the trust now needed to greatly improve the capability of its aircraft.

“The BK-117 helicopter (Rescue 1) that we currently use has been a great workhorse for the trust, but it has reached the absolute limit of its capability,” Mr Wikaira said.

“ARHT has identified the Bell-412 as its preferred option to serve the people of the region through until 2012 when we expect to move-up to the next generation of helicopter technology.

“The Bell-412 is a proven rescue workhorse that can carry up to four stretchers compared to the two we can currently carry, it can carry doctors and nurses, as well as paramedics if required. It is also an extremely powerful and stable helicopter for rescue winching, he said.

The lease on the current rescue helicopter expires on 31 December next year.

ENDS

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