Res­cue chop­per gets to be cen­tre of at­ten­tion

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - NI­CHOLAS MCBRIDE

Heli­copter fans were given an up close look at the Res­cue Heli­copter dur­ing an open day at its Palmer­ston North Hos­pi­tal hangar aon Satur­day.

On dis­play was the ser­vice’s BK117-B2 heli­copter, weigh­ing in at 3350kg, with twin 750 horse­power en­gines that can fly up to 220kmh.

It was joined by an Air Force A109LUH heli­copter and the Fire Ser­vice’s mo­bile com­mand cen­tre.

Res­cue heli­copter spokes­woman Vanessa Rich­mond said it had been about seven years since they last held an open day.

‘‘We’re ex­cited to be back at the hos­pi­tal and able to open up the doors to the pub­lic,’’ Rich­mond said.

They had a good crowd come through who all en­joyed get­ting an up-close be­hind-the-scenes look.

Rich­mond said they even had a few for­mer pa­tients come along to the open day and thank the pi­lots.

‘‘That is pretty cool when they come back to thank these guys.’’

Rich­mond said all money raised would stay in the re­gion.

The ser­vice has an­nual op­er­at­ing costs of $1.74 mil­lion, of which 53 per cent comes from the com­mu­nity

Base man­ager Chris Moody said they had al­ways met the an­nual tar­get, but it was not some­thing they could get com­pla­cent about.

Nev Messent brought his son Reed, 2, and daugh­ter Amy, 3, along for the day.

Messent said his son was keen to see a chop­per up close.

‘‘He ab­so­lutely loves them. If he sees one fly­ing over at home he points out to it.’’

Nishell Sharma brought her 2-year-old son Ansh Prasad, who was also a big fan.

‘‘He likes he­li­copters. He doesn’t want to go now. He wants to keep com­ing back [to see the heli­copter].’’

Sharma said it was also a good cause to sup­port.

NI­CHOLAS MCBRIDE

The Palmer­ston North Res­cue Heli­copter on dis­play at its open day on Satur­day.

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