The Westpac Air Ambulance, one of two fixed wing aircraft operated by Philips Search and Rescue Trust, was called upon to locate a missing aircraft last night. The aircraft was identified as being a Zenith 601XL which had departed Whitianga airfield on Sunday afternoon.
At approximately 6.30pm last night the Westpac Air Ambulance was called to locate the missing aircraft and its two passengers who where suspected to be in the Whanganui National Park area. The search continued until 8.30pm at which time the pilot had been able to pinpoint a search area where the aircraft was located by tracking its Emergency Locator Beacon (ELB). During the evening search parties entered the area on foot but were unable to locate either the aircraft or passengers.
The Westpac Air Ambulance was called again this morning at around 6.30am to continue the search by air and narrow down the search area. After successfully pinpointing the exact location the Taranaki Rescue Helicopter was then able to pick up the search, winching the couple from the bush.
Both patients have been transported to Taranaki Base Hospital.
For further information on the patients please direct your enquiries to St John or NZ Police.
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.