The benefits of a 24/7 service were clear last week when six out of the eight missions flown by the Trust Tairāwhiti Eastland Rescue Helicopter were outside of normal business hours.
It was an early start to the seven days starting Monday, December 11 with a 2am Tuesday call-out to a medical event at Te Araroa, with the patient flown in stable condition to Gisborne Hospital.
The following day the team were again called out early — this time at 6.15am — to a search at Motu triggered by a Personal Locator Beacon activation, but were stood down.
The week continued with dispatch to:
– A medical event at Tikitiki (December 14, 6.30am), with the patient flown in stable condition to Gisborne Hospital;
– A medical event in Tokomaru Bay (December 15, 8.30am), with the patient again flown in stable condition to Gisborne Hospital;
– A trauma at Waihau Bay (December 15, 6.30pm), with the patient flown in stable condition to Whakatane Hospital;
– December 15 (6.30pm), a patient transferred from Gisborne Hospital to Auckland after suffering a trauma;
– A medical event at Waipiro Bay (December 16, 1am), with the patient again flown in stable condition to Gisborne Hospital; and
– A trauma at Ruatoria (December 16, 5.30pm), with the patient flown in a stable condition to Gisborne Hospital.
“The unpredictability of missions reminds us of how important it was to get approval to build the service to a full team of 12, for which we just received approval in recent months,” says Eastland Helicopter Rescue Trust chair Patrick Willock.
“There was just one position to fill and we’re looking forward to seeing our new member join the team in February. This will reduce pressure on the hardworking trio of pilots who have flown what turned out to be a very busy year.”
CAPTION: ON THE GROUND: The Hato Hone St John ambulance service was again on scene to offer support for the Trust Tairāwhiti Rescue Helicopter team’s Thursday mission to Tikitiki from where the patient was flown to Gisborne Hospital.