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Air Force Aero-Medical Evacuation For Baby

10 December 2007

Air Force Performs Another Aero-Medical Evacuation For A Baby

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A 6-month old girl with a high fever was evacuated by a Royal New Zealand Air Force Iroquois from a small island off the northern coast of Timor-Leste in the early hours of Sunday morning.

A local doctor initiated the callout after the girls condition deteriorated overnight.

The Air Force crew, along with an Australian medical team, made the 20 mile transit to a village on the remote island of Atauro. Once stabilised, the girl and her parents were transported to Australian-run Aspen Medical Centre, before being admitted to Dili National hospital for treatment.

A detachment of two RNZAF Iroquois helicopters operates out of Dili in northern Timor-Leste, as part of the International Stabilisation Force (ISF) peace-keeping operations.

Last week the detachment evacuated a 13-year-old girl with stab-wounds to her chest following a domestic incident in the southern coastal village of Suai. She made a satisfactory recovery and has been discharged from hospital.

Detachment Commander, Squadron Leader Nick Cree, highlighted the importance of the flights.

“Two successful medivac (medical evacuation) operations of local children adds further value to 3 Squadron's role in Timor-Leste; supporting ISF operations as well as having the chance to directly help the people of Timor-Leste.

“The ability of our crews to provide 24 hour response gives flexibility to ISF and allows us to help with medical emergencies when called upon. Everyone here, from the aircrew and maintainers to the support staff, is proud to be part of that.”

The Ohakea-based 3 Squadron operate the two helicopters and have 31 personnel based in Dili alongside Australian and civilian helicopters, forming the Timor-Leste Aviation Group (TLAG). RNZAF Iroquois were initially deployed to Timor-Leste in 1999, before their withdrawal in 2002. They were redeployed in April 2007, and the crew work on three month rotations.

The RNZAF helicopter detachment has a mandate to remain in Timor-Leste until at least April 2008.

Photo caption: Detachment Commander, Squadron Leader Nick Cree.

Currently 505 New Zealand Defence Force personnel are deployed on 17 operations, UN missions and defence exercises around the world.


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