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Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter Completes Over 750 Missions In 2023

The Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter has concluded another successful year, carrying out a total of 754 missions in 2023. These missions included over 400 inter-hospital transfers, over 100 medical missions, 77 rural or remote incidents, 47 motor vehicle accidents, 6 rescues and 93 other missions.

Among the hospitals, Rotorua Hospital topped the list with being the most transported from, having over 70 missions take place, followed closely by Waikato Hospital with 67. Thames Hospital received 65 missions, while Taumarunui Hospital had 55. Notably, the Coromandel region had the most helicopter missions, with Whangamata and Whitianga having 15 missions each.

March was the busiest month of the year, with 75 life-saving missions completed. Five of these missions took place in Waihi, all involving patients who had suffered serious medical events. One incident involved a teenage male who experienced seizures after swimming at Waihi Beach. The patient was airlifted to Waikato Hospital for further treatment.

The Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter had completed over 70 missions to rural or remote places throughout last year, providing vital emergency medical assistance to those in need. These missions largely involved hiking injuries, motorbike injuries, and skiing injuries.

One mission took place in August when a teenage girl fell from her motocross bike at high speed in the Taharua Forest. The patient had sustained serious leg injuries and was flown to Taupo Hospital for further treatment. Another significant rural mission occurred in September when the rescue helicopter responded to an emergency call at the Turoa Ski Field. A young boy had suffered multiple serious injuries after falling while skiing. The patient was transported to Waikato Hospital, where he received further treatment.

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The Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter was involved in 6 rescue missions last year, with two of them taking place in the Pureora Forest. In a recent mission in October, a male hunter in his 60s sustained a minor leg injury after falling on uneven ground while he was out hunting with his dog. Thankfully, he activated his personal locator beacon, and soon after, your rescue helicopter crew were dispatched. Upon arrival at the scene, the crew located the patient by his tactic of climbing up a tree and shaking it until they spotted him. Recognizing the complex location, the crew determined that a winch extraction was the safest option for the patient. The crew winched down to prepare the patient and his dog for extraction. After successfully rescuing the patient and his canine companion, the rescue helicopter landed in a nearby clearing along the road close to the patient's vehicle.

The Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter responded to 47 motor vehicle accidents throughout the year. January saw the greatest number of MVA missions, with the majority of them happening within the Coromandel region. One mission occurred in Thames, where a male in his 60s had sustained multiple serious trauma injuries after his tractor had rolled, causing him to be crushed. The rescue helicopter crew were able to land at the scene and stabilise the patient before he was flown to Waikato Hospital for further treatment.

The Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter has been serving the Waikato, King Country and Coromandel region for many years. This iconic service operates 24/7, 365 days a year, with a dedicated crew of highly trained pilots, crewmen, and critical care flight paramedics who provide timely and life-saving assistance when it matters the most. The Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter relies on community support and donations to ensure your rescue crew can continue to deliver vital emergency services. Donate to your Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter today -

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