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Rescue helicopters are a crucial life-line

27 June 2008
For Immediate Release

Rescue helicopters are a crucial life-line says chairman

The weekend’s boating tragedy in Marlborough reaffirms that rescue helicopters are a crucial life-line for New Zealanders, says Life Flight chairman Bill Day.

“Life Flight’s Westpac Rescue Helicopter is vital in an emergency like this where speed is critical and access is challenging.”

“It reminds us of why the Life Flight service was conceived 40 years ago after our founder Peter Button watched the Wahine disaster and realised how many lives could be saved by an air rescue service,” said Mr Day.

Mr Day was reappointed as chairman of The Life Flight Trust last week. He has been closely involved with the Trust for more than three decades.

Life Flight’s general manager Kevin Allan says, “Bill was the public relations manager at The Commercial Bank of Australia (later becoming Westpac) who was directly responsible for initiating the sponsorship of Life Flight’s rescue helicopter service in 1981, a relationship which still stands today.”

“Now as chairman of Life Flight, Bill has more recently led the Trust through major initiatives including building a dedicated air rescue centre in Wellington, purchasing its own helicopter and establishing an air ambulance service based in Wellington and Auckland.”

Last week Deb Battell, director of the Competition Branch at the Commerce Commission, was elected as deputy chair of Life Flight.

“We are thrilled to have such a wealth of experience on our board to ensure we can continue to provide a world class air rescue service that is free for all New Zealanders,” said Mr Allan.

Life Flight flies around 1500 missions every year in its Westpac Rescue Helicopter and two air ambulance aeroplanes. The service has helped over 14,000 people.

ENDS

TRUSTEES OF THE LIFE FLIGHT TRUST

W R (Bill) Day JP Chairperson

Deborah Battell Deputy Chair, Director, Competition Branch Commerce Commission

Peter Adamson Retired Air Vice Marshall, Royal New Zealand Air Force

Murray Gough Company Director

Dr Peter Hicks Medical Director, Intensive Care Service, Capital & Coast Health

Shaan Stevens Chair, Wellington Free Ambulance

Catherine Taylor Chief Executive, Maritime NZ

Trevor Taylor Chief Executive, Outward Bound Company Director

Stephen Ward Senior Partner, Simpson Grierson, Solicitors

Dr Russell Worth OBE Retired Neurosurgeon, Co-founder of The Life Flight Trust

June 2008

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