New Rescue Helicopter undertakes first mission | Philips Search and Rescue Trust

New Rescue Helicopter undertakes first mission

The Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter was dispatched to the Tararua Ranges late yesterday afternoon to assist NZ Police in the search and rescue of a 52 year old Wellington man.

The man was unable to make his own way out of the ranges and was suffering from exhaustion when located by the NZ Police SAR Team.  The Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter was directed to Field Hut where the onboard Crewman was able to safely extract the man using the rescue hoist.

The mission was completed at last light and Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter Pilot and Base Manager, Chris Moody, was delighted by the performance of his new helicopter, ‘The hoist mission was conducted with ease using the increased capabilities provided by the newly commissioned Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter.’

The new twin engine BK117 replaced the single engine AS350FX2 earlier this month after nine months of modification work to make it fit for its rescue role.  These modifications include a 600lb rescue winch, night vision capability and high density seating.

The cost of this new helicopter was approximately $3.6m.  It was funded by a combined package of borrowings, reserves, specific bequests and Grants from a range of community organisations and, finally, three years’ accumulated one-off capital focussed contributions from the 8,650 Friends of the Rescue Helicopter throughout the region amounting to $351,629 to date and still growing.  There are still unfunded costs of $235,933 to source.

The Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter service carried out 258 missions last year, an increase of 12% over the previous year; many of these missions were conducted in challenging locations and in adverse weather conditions.

Philips Search and Rescue Trust is a charitable organisation, operating rescue helicopters throughout the Central North Island. Philips Search and Rescue Trust relies on support from principal sponsors and community donations. This crucial financial support ensures our rescue helicopters can continue to bring life-saving equipment, rescue personnel and trauma-trained medics directly to the patient.

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