Region’s newest rescue chopper takes to the skies

The IIX Rescue Chopper. Supplied photo.

Philips Search & Rescue Trust’s newest rescue helicopter - the BK 117-IIX – has taken to the skies on its first mission.

The commissioning of IIX-Reserve is the latest step towards the long-term growth and sustainability of an emergency air rescue service at the highest levels of excellence.

The BK117-Reserve machine is available to assist and cover all of Philips Search & Rescue Trust’s primary machines (Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopters, TECT Rescue Helicopter, Greenlea Rescue Helicopter, Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter) for any eventuality including scheduled or unscheduled maintenance, guaranteeing your rescue helicopter is never offline.

Demand for the service has never been greater, with air responses to illness and accident emergencies progressively increasing.

In the past 12 months to date, the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopters, TECT Rescue Helicopter, Greenlea Rescue Helicopter and the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter combined, have completed a staggering total of 2804 lifesaving missions.

This momentum shows no signs of slowing down and it’s imperative that the primary fleet of rescue helicopters are always covered at a moment’s notice.

No life should be compromised by the delay or unavailability of a rapid-response rescue helicopter.

IIX-Reserve is only here largely in part due to the generous response from the community in helping fund the installation of its avionics.

This enabled IIX-Reserve to be airborne within hours of taking its position within the fleet.

“The commissioning of IIX-Reserve to cover primary machines, gives the Coastal Bay of Plenty region assurance that your rescue helicopter will always be airborne when tasked,” says Group Manager, Vanessa Richmond.

“Having the community with us on this journey is vitally important and your generous support in helping fund the avionics has enabled us to provide better patient outcomes.”

On Saturday, May 22, IIX was at work, replacing a primary machine down for scheduled maintenance.

The Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter IIX-Reserve was tasked to Whitianga to a male patient in his seventies who was experiencing a heart event.

The patient had been attending a sports event as a spectator when he experienced difficulties.

The helicopter made the 35-minute journey, meeting the attending ambulance at the Whitianga Airfield before airlifting the patient in a time-critical flight to Waikato Hospital.

The tasking of IIX-Reserve was an example in action of uninterrupted operations, ensuring that no life was compromised.


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