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New Rescue Helicopter Trust for Coromandel

July 4, 2012

New Rescue Helicopter Trust for Coromandel

A newly formed charitable trust in the Coromandel will see a new Rescue Helicopter hangar built at Whitianga by Labour Weekend 2012.

The Coromandel Rescue Helicopter Trust’s first task will be fundraising for the new hangar, which is proposed to be built on Thames Coromandel District Council (TCDC) land adjacent to the Whitianga air field.

Designs for the facility have been approved and the project is currently awaiting resource consent from the TCDC.

Trustees of the new organisation are Walter Russell (Chairman), Helen Bourne (Secretary), Bruce Ellwood and Philip Morcom.

Walter Russell says the hangar will protect rescue helicopters from the harsh marine environment while ensuring the security of the machine, rescue equipment and medical supplies.

He adds: “Having crew accommodation on site as well will enhance our rapid deployment for missions, improving rescue teams’ response times to patients in need of critical care.”

The total cost for the project, including roading, drainage and power costs will be approximately $600,000 and the Trust intends to fundraise with gaming charities, local trusts and the general public.

The Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust (ARHT) will hold the lease on the facility. Their second Westpac Rescue helicopter has been based at Whitianga for the summer holidays and holiday weekends for the past two years.

The hangar will be available for use by other emergency rescue services in the region when required.

ARHT chief executive Bob Parkinson says there is an increasing demand for rescue helicopter services in the Coromandel, with a rapidly growing population of both permanent residents and holiday-makers.

“Our missions to the Coromandel and Thames region have increased by 85 per cent in the last four years and there are more than 200 rescue missions per year to the area by air rescue services,” he says.

Contributions to the Whitianga Hangar project can be made by donating at any Westpac branch to the Hangar Appeal, A/c No: 03-1578-0116338-01.


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