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Westpac Rescue Helicopter departed for Chathams

The Wellington based Westpac Rescue Helicopter departed Wellington airport, enroute to the Chatham Islands airport, at 5:55 am. The helicopter is going to winch the Lyttleton couple, who have been rescued by the P&O Nedloyds Encounter, onto the helicopter and bring them back to the Chatham Islands.

A Vincent Aviation spotter plane will depart Wellington Airport at 7am, followed by the Life Flight NZ fixed wing air ambulance at about 9am.

"The helicopter and spotter plane will arrive at the Chathams just before 10am and then both planes will refuel" says Dave Greenberg, Life Flight Operations Manager. "Once they are fuelled up they will both head off to the Encounter where the helicopter will winch the two lucky Kiwis onboard".

For the flight to the Chatham Islands the helicopter has two people onboard - Pilot Tim Douglas-Clifford and Crewman Jon Leach. A Wellington Free Ambulance paramedic, Keith Frewen, will fly to the Chathams on the Vincent Aviation plane, and board the helicopter for the rescue mission.

The Life Flight NZ air ambulance will be waiting on the Chatham Islands when the Westpac Rescue Helicopter arrives with the injured couple. A specialist medical flight team from Wellington Hospital will be onboard the plane, caring for the couple on the way back to hospital in Wellington.

This is the second time this year that a helicopter rescue has been undertaken off the Chatham Islands. Early on the morning of January 2nd a Global Challenge sailor, John Masters, was rescued off his yacht after taking ill in the Southern Ocean.


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