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Emergency Service Providers Honoured For Their Lifesaving Efforts

Northland Rescue Helicopter crews are paying tribute to fellow emergency services providers for their efforts in keeping people safe.

Senior Critical Care Paramedic and Aircrew Officer Paul Davis says they could not perform technical offshore winch rescues in challenging weather without the support of numerous agencies and community volunteers.

These include Maritime New Zealand, the Rescue Coordination Centre, Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter, Coastguard, and Police, he says.

“When I think of the numerous offshore winch operations we have undertaken over the years, we could not have safely and successfully completed these missions without the support from other agencies. We also train extensively to ensure our crews are well prepared and have the necessary skills and experience required,” says Davis.

Northland Rescue Helicopters will tonight be recognised at the 2023 New Zealand Search and Rescue Awards, where the charitable trust will receive a Certificate of Achievement – Operational Activity. The accolade is for the rescue of a sailor 100 nautical miles from Kerikeri on 12 May 2023.

Davis says the award is humbling for him and his crew mates – Pilots Murray Plowright and Joel Higgie and fellow Critical Care Paramedic and Rescue Swimmer Blake Murray – not to mention the wider Northland Rescue Helicopter team.

“We are lucky to work with a bunch of very talented and passionate people throughout the organisation and that is what allows us to get out there and safely undertake the work we do, helping our Northland communities and visitors,”, says Davis.

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“I would also like to thank NZSAR and acknowledge the other award winners from Northland and around the country. They are all clearly deserving of recognition for going above and beyond to help others in their time of need."

Davis rates the night-time PatriotX mission among the top-three most challenging rescues of his career.

The NZSAR awards are presented annually in recognition of outstanding achievements within New Zealand’s search and rescue region, which covers 30 million square kilometres.

Awards given in the Operations category recognise significant rescue operations that took place between 1 January and 31 December 2023. Forty nominations were received for 2023, with two Gold Awards and ten Certificates of Achievement being awarded at this year’s ceremony.

The Northland Rescue Helicopter service flies well over 1000 missions per year and has flown more than 28,000 missions since being established in 1988.

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