Your support played a vital part in Shelley’s rescue | Philips Search and Rescue Trust

Your support played a vital part in Shelley’s rescue

“I don’t think I’m afraid to fly in a helicopter now. I’d quite like to go again – but on a nice enjoyable trip, not an emergency!”

The reason for Shelley’s enthusiasm for helicopters is clear.

She and her husband Paul, were cycling with a group through the mountain bike park at Craters of the Moon. Shelley suddenly hit a bump, somersaulted in the air and landed on her head. When she hit the ground she was knocked out cold.

The group was instantly off their bikes and into action.

“We phoned 111, gave them our GPS coordinates and very soon we had an ambulance right at the spot,” said Paul. “We couldn’t move Shelley as we were worried about the injury to her neck and head. It was a pretty stressful moment.”

The Greenlea Rescue Helicopter’s own off-duty pilot, Pete Masters, was also mountain bike riding that day and had ridden past the group some time earlier. When he saw a message on his pager come through, he headed back to the park to assist on the ground.

“Pete was amazing,” Shelley said. “I was so grateful he was there and able to reassure us that help was on the way. I don’t remember much from that day but I do remember him.”

The ambulance medics were concerned about Shelley’s head injury, and called for the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter to be dispatched.  Very soon she was loaded on board for the flight to Rotorua Hospital.

“We can’t say enough,” said Paul. “The ambulance and the chopper – as a team, they are incredible.”

“I have been a supporter of the rescue helicopter for years; first Waikato, then Bay of Plenty and now Greenlea Rescue Helicopter. When you need them, they’re amazing! Seeing the rescue helicopter in action goes to show what an important service it is.”

Shelley regained consciousness in the helicopter but her memory is sketchy.

“When they told me where I was and that I was flying, I was terrified as I don’t like flying but the whole team made me feel so comfortable,” recalled Shelley.

“We have firmly decided that we wish to renew our Friends of the Rescue Helicopter membership every year because without them, how might the situation have ended? Until you actually experience their service you don’t realise how vital it is.”

We Need You

It could be you, your family, friends, staff or patrons that need us. Your support ensures the rescue helicopters are available in your community.

The Philips Search & Rescue Trust’s rescue helicopters can be airborne in 10 minutes, and in a life and death situation, this speed and agility can make all the difference. It is the timely assistance that the rescue helicopters provides that can reduce disability and improve survival - the sooner resuscitation and treatment begins the greater chance of patient recovery.

But the cost of this is huge. Philips Search & Rescue Trust’s rescue helicopters do not receive any funding from the New Zealand Government. Your local rescue helicopter does have contracts with ACC, DHB and New Zealand Police, but this only covers 47% of the operating costs. This means 53% of this must come from the community.

Without community support, your rescue helicopter would not be able to remain operational on a 24/7, 365 basis, which would mean a serious delay in people being rescued, or transported to and from hospital facilities for urgent treatment.

Becoming a supporter of your local rescue helicopters means you will be making a life-saving difference in your community.

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