The ECT Rescue Helicopter proved its worth once again late last week, completing four missions in what was a busy Friday and Saturday. The chopper attended a range of accident and medical emergencies between Matawai and Waihau Bay, including that of an infant who had been hit by a vehicle.

The ECT Rescue Helicopter was scrambled to Matawai at 10:28 on Friday morning, tasked with retrieving 59-year-old suffering a medical event. He was assessed by an St John intensive care paramedic and flown to Gisborne Hospital.

An early start in the small hours of Saturday morning signalled a busier than usual Saturday. At 4:30am, the crew evacuated a patient with a suspected fracture to her leg from Te Puia Springs Hospital. The 86-year-old was assessed by an accompanying St John paramedic, prepared for flight and flown to Gisborne Hospital for treatment. This mission was flown with the aid of the night vision goggles.

At 11:06, the ECT Rescue Helicopter returned to Te Puia Springs to uplift a 59-year-old male with who was suffering a medical complaint. He was also transported to Gisborne Hospital for assessment and treatment.

On Saturday evening, the ECT Rescue Helicopter flew to Waihau Bay to attend to a one-year-old who had been run over by a car. He was assessed by a St John intensive care paramedic before being flown, in a stable condition, to Gisborne Hospital for treatment. Because the call came in at around 7:30pm, night vision goggles were also used to complete this flight.

Eastland Helicopter Rescue Trust chairman Patrick Willock says that, from an operational point of view, it is reassuring to know the chopper continues to provide a vital service to our isolated rural and coastal communities. However, when we see the craft in the air, he suggests we take a moment to reflect on what that means – that somewhere in the region, someone is in serious need of critical emergency care.