Eagle-eyed East Coast residents spotted a bird of a different feather as the Trust Tairāwhiti Eastland Rescue Helicopter carried out its week of life-saving missions.
Over the past few days the team’s usual white BK-117 helicopter (ZK-HNP) was off-base for routine maintenance.
To ensure there was no break to their 24/7 service, they flew in cover aircraft ZK-HEP from its usual base in the Central North Island.
“It was really a case of business as usual, though HEP is certainly distinctive with its bright yellow paint-job,” says Eastland Helicopter Rescue Trust chair Patrick Willock.
“But the team does have a diligent bunch of supportive watchers who have been quick to comment on the different appearance of their rescue helicopter.”
On Monday, February 5 the team completed two missions before ZK-HNP was flown off base — the 9am transfer of a patient (in stable condition) from Gisborne to Waikato Hospital; and a response to a medical event at Hiruharama (1.34pm), with the patient flown in stable condition to Gisborne Hospital.
And over the course of the rest of the week ZK-HEP was flown in a further six missions:
– February 7, 2024, 6pm – Inter-hospital transfer of a patient in serious condition from Gisborne to Auckland Hospital.
– February 8, 2024, 8.22am – The Trust Tairāwhiti Eastland Rescue Helicopter flew to a motor vehicle accident at Whangara where our on-board critical care flight paramedic assessed and treated the patient, who did not require transport.
– February 8, 2024, 2.30pm – The team responded to a trauma at Te Araroa, from where the patient was flown in stable condition to Gisborne Hospital.
– February 11, 2024, 8.30am – The Trust Tairāwhiti Eastland Rescue Helicopter attended a medical event at Ruatoria, with the patient again flown in stable condition to Gisborne Hospital.
– February 11, 2024, 4pm – The team was called to a trauma at Waipiro Bay, from where the patient was flown in stable condition to Gisborne Hospital.
– February 11, 2024, 6.50pm – The team again flew up the coast, to a trauma at Ruatoria, with the patient flown in stable condition to Gisborne Hospital.
The team’s usual white BK-117 is due back on-base by the middle of this week.
CAPTION: Coasties were quick to point out the distinctive yellow paint job of the cover aircraft – pictured during a mission to Waipiro Bay late Sunday afternoon – flown over the past few days by the Trust Tairāwhiti Eastland Rescue Helicopter team.