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Search and Rescue keeps Helipro busy

Search and Rescue keeps Helipro busy

Media Statement 19 December 2009
For immediate use

Palmerston North based helicopter operator, Helipro, is being kept busy with emergency work on both sides of the Tasman.

CEO, Rick Lucas, said that Palmerston North and Pukerua Bay based helicopters had assisted Police with searches off the Wanganui coast and in the Tararua Ranges yesterday; and its specialist fire-fighting crews were flat out in New South Wales.

Mr Lucas said two twin-engine BK-117 helicopters had been used in the searches today and another two were in Australia contracted to do specialist winching and fire fighting operations.

“The BK-117 is an ideal search and rescue and fire-fighting aircraft which is why we have the biggest fleet of them in New Zealand,” he said.

Mr Lucas said winching had become a specialty of the company with the work in Australia as it involved winching fire-fighting crews into tight spots to attack fires on the ground.

“We do hundreds of winches every fire season in Australia which has a spin off back here when we called on to do search and rescue work,” he said.

Mr Lucas said this week they have had to double-crew the fire-fighting helicopters which had been flying up to 11 hours a day.


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