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Northlanders contribute to Northland rescue helicoptor


Peter Turnbull-73This year’s Westpac Chopper Appeal has raised $39,002.39 for the Northland Electricity Rescue Helicopters.

This is part of $1,535,454.34 raised across the country.

All donations from the Westpac Chopper Appeal are distributed back to the 16 rescue helicopter services across the country, meaning money raised locally, stays local.

Westpac’s Director of Corporate Affairs, Sue Foley, says the total raised is an outstanding effort.

“New Zealanders have once again shown their support rallying behind their local rescue helicopters,” says Ms Foley. “We’d like to thank all of those who generously dug deep and donated, along with everyone who was involved in the fundraising events in their communities.”

“The helicopters provide such a vital service that saves lives on a daily basis. It’s important for us to continue to play our part and raise awareness as well as much-needed funds to keep them in the air.”

Westpac employees were also crucial to the success of this year’s result with fundraising initiatives organised around the country as well as hitting the streets to collect $127,857.80 on their May 1 nationwide Chopper Street Appeal.

“We are continually overwhelmed by the generosity of locals and could not be prouder to be part of this community,” says Northland Emergency Services Trust CEO and chief pilot, Peter Turnbull. “We would like to thank every person and group who gave as well as the support from Westpac through the Chopper Appeal every year. Every donation makes a big difference to help us keep doing what we do and we are very grateful.”

Donations are welcome throughout the year and can be made at chopperappeal.co.nz or any Westpac branch.
 
Air ambulance busier than ever

The last six months has been the busiest ever for Northland’s air ambulance service NEST, with the emergency services team responding to 405 requests for assistance from 1 January to 30 June this year.

This is up from 389 call outs over the same period last year, and from approximately 300 from five years ago, says chief pilot and CEO Peter Turnbull.

Although only half way through the year, the air ambulance service is on track to top last year’s flight record of 800 missions and more than 1100 flight hours responding to requests for assistance.

“We expect our workload to continue to increase throughout the year. Our team of pilots and St John paramedics are working around the clock to provide a dedicated

air ambulance service to Northland. Our on-call team is up in the air approximately three hours per day, not including the time spent on the ground with each patient.”

January was the busiest month to date, with the team responding to up to eight call outs per day and clocking a total of 104.4 hours in flight. The 84 call outs included a near drowning, a dog attack, four multi-system traumas and four strokes.

April wasn’t far behind, with the helicopters in the air up to five times a day and spending an average of 3.5 hours in flight per day.

“Transporting a patient with a suspected case of Ebola from Gore to Christchurch was our longest flight this year – a job that took our specialist emergency team more than six hours to complete.

“The second longest flight was transferring a patient from Gisborne to North Shore Hospital, which took us 4.2 hours from start to finish.”

NEST’s Sikorsky S-76’s are the longest range helicopters in the country, carrying enough fuel to last more than 5 hours in the air with an extra fuel tank.
 


GRATEFUL: Northland Emergency Services Trust CEO and Chief Pilot, Peter Turnbull.

 

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