Friends reunite at Fieldays | Philips Search and Rescue Trust

Friends reunite at Fieldays

Alan Hurford had been a Friend of the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter for years, but he never imagined being the one requiring the rapid response emergency service.

Just over a year ago, a motorcycle accident left him with a leg totally degloved of skin up to his abdomen.  Alan hit a pedestrian island near Taupiri Mountain, while passing a vehicle and came off his bike. He impacted with the side of a milk tanker’s wheels and was dragged until the tanker was able to stop.

The Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter was dispatched to the accident scene with an ED doctor on-board.  This was a time-critical accident as Alan was at serious risk of losing his leg. He also sustained other serious injuries, due to the horrific nature of this accident.

Alan spent three months in hospital and underwent 20 operations to re-construct his leg and wrist.  A year on and Alan is mobile, back at work and on the road to recovery.

He doesn’t remember his flight in the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter, but on Wednesday, June 15 2016, the crew had the pleasure of flying Alan into the 2016 National Fieldays® at Mystery Creek.

An extremely grateful Alan spent time with the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter crew and is thankful the rescue helicopter was there for him that night.

 In 2015, the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter flew 504 potentially life-saving missions. The annual cost to have this service available and dedicated to our region is $3.3 million per year, with more than half of this funded through our community.

 To donate to the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter or your local Philips Search and  Rescue helicopter visit or call the fundraising team on 0800 11 10 10


Meeting the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter crew at the 2015 Open Day.

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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