WESTPAC LIFE SAVER RESCUE HELICOPTER SERVICE (SOUTHERN) DEPLOYS ENHANCED HELICOPTERS AHEAD OF BUSY SUMMER
State of the art technology, new avionics systems and enhanced communications are just some of the upgraded features of the two new helicopters for the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service (Southern); designed to elevate our eyes in the skies ahead of another busy summer along our coastline.
Last season alone the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service (Southern) performed 197 missions, ranging from tragic events with multiple fatalities in boating incidents, through to rescuing swimmers, boat and craft users and rock fishers; and conducting search and rescue missions for missing persons along the coast and at bush locations.
The two new Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopters will have:
- New communications panels, integrating aircraft and emergency service radios, phones and navigation systems have been installed enhancing both internal and external communications during emergencies
- Revised Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS) and an improved environmental control system will provide pilots and crew the best systems possible to manage and monitor navigational and weather during flight
- Winch devices to enable rescue crew to be put into situations to rescue persons in distress and the crew to retrieve these people and provide essential emergency care
- Essential lifesaving, emergency response and rescue equipment.
Ahead of summer, the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service has made the changes to the BK-117 C1s aircraft, to ensure the latest technology and services would be available in assisting keeping Australia’s iconic coastline safe.
Now it its 47th year of operation, the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service (Southern), has become a vital tool for emergency services, not just for Surf Life Saving, but the broader community. Last summer, the service played an important role with the severe NSW bush fires and floods that grappled the State while also responding to other major incidents.
The Surf Life Saving Australia CEO, Adam Weir said that with the support of Westpac and the NSW Government through Resilience NSW, the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter forms a vital role as part of Surf Life Saving’s full range of front line rescue services in providing search and rescue operations, flood search and rescue operations, natural disaster and major incident support, and multi-agency search and rescue training.
“Surf Life Saving relies on a full network of rescue operations, from our surf lifesavers on the beach to our watercraft as well as our eyes in the skies – our Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopters.
“While we hope no one ever needs to be rescued, it is comforting to know that the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Services are there ready to go at any moment to assist those in need.
“We are very proud to have Westpac as a partner of the service, and it has been through this partnership that we have been able to grow and evolve the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopters as one recognised both nationally and around the world for the support that they provide to the community, at no cost.”
Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said the NSW Government is committed to supporting Surf Life Savers.
“These helicopters are a crucial resource to not only Surf Life Savers, but also support for all our emergency service agencies during rescue and search operations,” Mr Elliott said.
“The NSW Government will continue to support the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service, as it faces what is expected to be an unusually busy summer period.”
Ross Miller, Westpac Chief Customer Engagement Officer said “We have proudly partnered with Surf Life Saving Australia to establish the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service in Sydney, almost five decades ago. In that time, we’ve seen more than 80,000 missions performed; helping Australians when they need it most.
“Our continued commitment remains just as important today as it did 50 years ago, so that this vital search and rescue helicopter service continues to remain free to the community, ensuring no one has to pay to be rescued.”