Rescue crew tests out new landing pad

Local mountainbikers could benefit from the cutting of a new helicopter pad

“DON’T panic, we were just going about our business,” says the Trust Tairawhiti Eastland Rescue Helicopter crew of a recent flight over the city.

The helicopter’s March 12 trajectory from Riverside Road over to Whataupoko had some locals worried there had been an accident at the mountain bike trails at the end of Fox Street.

“But it was just a preplanned training flight to familiarise our newest crewman with the area, our helicopter and crew, and to test out a new landing pad on Riverside Road,” the crew spokesperson said.

“That sort of intelligence helps us with future missions so we’re pleased to have had the chance to get out there.”

The new landing pad is the work of civil construction engineer Sam Currie, who said he’d planned it long before Cyclone Gabrielle.

After local company Arborcare donated time to clear trees, a team from Mr Currie’s firm, Currie Construction, did the excavation required to create a safe landing place.

“Our place is just over the hill from the mountain bike park and we knew the helicopter had had trouble finding landing spots when attending emergencies in the past,” Mr Currie said.

“So we decided that cutting a pad on our side would be a good way to help. You never know . . . it could be one of our kids one day.”

Photo credit: File photo