Res­cue ser­vice up­grades he­li­copter

Te Puke Times - - NEWS -

The Trust­power TECT Res­cue He­li­copter op­er­a­tion has taken de­liv­ery of a twinengine BK117 he­li­copter, re­plac­ing the cur­rent sin­gle-en­gine Squir­rel that has served the re­gion for the last 18 years.

For a few weeks, the Tau­ranga based crew will be in a tran­si­tion pe­riod with both ma­chines be­ing avail­able for emer­gency and air am­bu­lance work.

The new BK117 was used for the first time to air lift a 55-year-old Te Araroa woman who was suf­fer­ing from a car­diac event. The weather con­di­tions pre­sented the crew with some chal­lenges on the way to the re­mote East Cape town. Soon after­wards, the new he­li­copter flew to Paeroa to air­lift a man with a se­ri­ous med­i­cal con­di­tion to Waikato Hos­pi­tal.

Both mis­sions were car­ried out by pi­lots Liam Bret­tkelly and Barry Vin­cent and crew­man Cal­lan Carn-Ben­nett.

The BK117 is the most pop­u­lar res­cue he­li­copter in New Zealand and around the world.

It has an ex­tremely use­ful com­bi­na­tion of multi-role ca­pa­bil­ity — high per­for­mance and agility with suf­fi­cient room to carry the crews and pa­tients re­quired across the very broad range of uses that res­cue he­li­copters in New Zealand need.

It is a sig­nif­i­cant up­grade and fol­lows the lead of other Philips Search and Res­cue He­li­copter bases in the Waika­toKing Coun­try and the ManawatuWhanganui.

“Mov­ing to a BK117 will al­low in­creased ca­pa­bil­i­ties as an emer­gency ser­vice provider,” says Brett.

“The new ma­chine will be fully equipped with the lat­est tech­nol­ogy and equip­ment for res­cue mis­sions and med­i­cal emer­gen­cies. The BK117 is a more ca­pa­ble, modern and spa­cious air­craft to bet­ter ser­vice Tau­ranga and the Bay of Plenty.”

The BK’s rear cabin is larger, al­low­ing for med­i­cal staff to work on pa­tients more freely while air­borne. Be­ing a twin en­gine, the BK117 is faster than the Squir­rel al­low­ing the crew to get to pa­tients more quickly.

The Trust­power TECT Res­cue He­li­copter can be air­borne in 10 min­utes and, in a life and death sit­u­a­tion, this speed and agility can make all the dif­fer­ence.

Op­er­at­ing a BK117 in­creases the an­nual op­er­at­ing costs of the Tau­ranga base, but the cost is out­weighed by the ben­e­fits of a more modern ma­chine and avion­ics, and the safety ben­e­fits, such as crash-re­sis­tant fuel tanks, seats and struc­tures.

The up­grade is ini­tially be­ing ful­filled by a lease he­li­copter.

The Trust­power TECT Res­cue He­li­copter Ser­vice car­ried out 203 mis­sions last year, an in­crease from the pre­vi­ous year; many of these mis­sions were con­ducted in chal­leng­ing lo­ca­tions and in ad­verse weather con­di­tions.

The ser­vice is gov­erned by the Philips Search and Res­cue Trust, which is a charitable or­gan­i­sa­tion, op­er­at­ing res­cue he­li­copters through­out the Cen­tral North Is­land.

Philips Search and Res­cue Trust re­lies on sup­port from spon­sors and com­mu­nity do­na­tions. This cru­cial fi­nan­cial sup­port en­sures the res­cue he­li­copters can con­tinue to bring life-sav­ing equip­ment, res­cue per­son­nel, and trauma-trained medics di­rectly to the pa­tient.

PI­LOTS Liam Bret­tkelly (left) and Barry Vin­cent with the new BK117 at Te Araroa.

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