It has been a busy opening month for the latest addition to the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter fleet, following its launch on the NSW South Coast at the end of November 2010.
The new helicopter service, based in Moruya, was called into action on just their third day of operations, successfully rescuing two swimmers whose jet ski sank off Batemans Bay. Numerous surf patrols have since been conducted along the NSW south coast, assisting surf lifesavers and lifeguards with their operations.
The first part of the month was also spent in the Riverina region assisting the SES and local communities with flood relief and rescue operations.
Calls for assistance have come from the Rescue Coordination Centre at Australian Search and Rescue in Canberra (AusSAR), the Surf Life Saving State Operations Centre, the State Emergency Service and NSW Police.
Thirty-two (33) flights have been completed, including 19 missions in support of the State Emergency Service flood relief efforts.
“Our first month shows that the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter is an important asset for the local emergency services and the communities of southern NSW,” said Westpac Life Saver General Manager, Stephen Leahy.
“The Westpac Life Saver is here every day for the next two months and our crews are ready to go from their base at Moruya Airport.
The Westpac Life Saver service on the south coast has been funded through the generosity of the Westpac Bank but more funds are required to make sure the rescue helicopter remains part of the local community.
“With support, we can extend our operations and ultimate goal is to be operating 365 days a year. Donations can be made at any branch of the Westpac Bank,” said Mr Leahy.