The ECT Rescue Helicopter has just completed one of the busiest New Year periods on record.


Eleven rescues in 9 days for ECT chopper

In total the team complete eleven rescues in 9 days, travelling the length and breadth of the region to deliver lifesaving medical support in a number of critical accident and medical situations.

Pilot Neil Dodds puts the rise in missions down to the fact that, with the great weather, more people are out in some fairly remote environments.

“Families are in holiday mode and doing what they love, but our rural industries are also in full swing – so people are busy. And, while we don’t like to be busy, it’s great to know that we have the ECT Rescue Helicopter on hand and that we’re doing what we should be – delivering lifesaving medical care quickly and effectively,” he says.

This weekend alone, the team completed five missions.

The team’s first saw them head to Anara Bay to uplift a 53-year-old male who suffered a stroke at 8:50am on Saturday morning. At 1pm the chopper returned to the Coast, this time to Te Puia Springs Hospital to attend to a six-year-old girl who had broken her arm while playing.

In the early hours of Sunday morning the ECT Rescue Helicopter was called again to Te Puia Hospital, this time to a medical emergency. A 77-year-old male suffering shortness of breath was flown to Gisborne Hospital just after midnight – a mission only achievable with the use of night vision goggles.

At 9:50 on Sunday morning, the chopper dashed to Hick’s Bay to pick up a 57-year-old male who was in serious pain and suffering dehydration. He was transported to Gisborne Hospital for assessment and further treatment.

Then, at 2:45 the chopper was sent to a rural property in Te Karaka where a 31-year-old had lost control of a harvester. The driver suffered broken bones and was thought to have chest injuries. He was flown to Gisborne Hospital for further treatment.


Other missions last week included two missions to Te Araroa – one to rescue a 35-year-old with chest pains and the other to assist an 80-year-old with low blood pressure which was causing concern. And one mission to Te Puia to rescue a five-year-old girl with a broken arm.