WEDNESDAY was a hectic day for helicopter rescues in the region with the Trust Tairāwhiti Eastland Rescue Helicopter backed up by aircraft from outside the district.
The day started early for the local team with a 3am call-out to a medical event in Tokomaru Bay, followed by a medical event in Ruatoria at 8.50am, and another in Te Puia Springs at 11.30am.
Then just after 4pm they were called to a trauma at Tirohanga, just east of Opotoki, and with the patient requiring transport to Waikato Hospital the team did not make it back to home base – Eastland Helicopter Rescue Trust’s Gisborne hangar – until 8.40pm.
While they were off-base related services stepped up.
Waikato’s Westpac Rescue Helicopter (ZK-IIX) flew from Hamilton to an incident at Waihau Bay, transporting their patient to Tauranga Hospital.
Then just after 7.30pm the Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter (ZK-HIQ), which had already arrived from its Hastings base, attended a medical event at Ruatoria, taking their patient to Gisborne Hospital before heading back to Hawke’s Bay.
The patient taken from Tirohanga to Waikato Hospital was in a critical condition, while those involved in all other missions flown on Wednesday were reported to be stable.
“For our region it was a total of six helicopter rescues within a single 24-hour period, which is a hectic day by anyone’s standards and required some change-out in the roster to prevent pilot fatigue,” says EHRT chair Patrick Willock.
Having out-of-region back-up once again showed the advantage of EHRT being part of Search and Rescue Services Ltd’s North Island network, Mr Willock added.
“But the first call is to our Eastland team and the demands on them are greater than ever before. We are so grateful for their dedication and professionalism, whatever is thrown at them.”
CAPTION: For just one of their stop-offs in Wednesday’s busy schedule, the Trust Tairāwhiti Eastland Rescue Helicopter called in at Hamilton International Airport after transporting a patient to Waikato Hospital.