Rescue services will be significantly boosted on the NSW South Coast after Westpac announced additional funding for the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service to introduce a dedicated rescue helicopter service for the region.
The boosted financial assistance will allow for the Westpac Life Saver Helicopter Rescue Service to operate a helicopter on the NSW South Coast from the start of December 2010, to coincide with the start of the busy summer season.
The BK-117 twin engine helicopter will be flown to Moruya Airport on Tuesday 30 November, with the first shift commencing at 9.00 am the next morning.
The helicopter carries a crew of three; the pilot, an air crew officer who coordinates rescue missions and a rescue swimmer who is winched down to complete rescues from the surf, rock ledges or inland locations.
Westpac Life Saver General Manager Stephen Leahy said the community would reap the benefits of the new rescue service.
“We are extremely grateful to Westpac for the extra funding to provide this invaluable service for the region,” he said.
“As the NSW South Coast continues to grow and tourism increases, we recognisethe need to support lifesaving services on the beach with aerial surveillance and aerial rescue capabilities, especially in remote locations.
“It also provides the police and other emergency services with a rapid and responsive rescue helicopter to assist them in search and rescue operations.”
“The new helicopter will be based at Moruya Airport each summer and will cover an area from Shoalhaven Heads down to the Victorian border.”
“Our staff have been working hard to set up the new base over the last couple of weeks and we couldn’t have achieved this without the wonderful support of the Eurobodalla Shire Council,” said Mr Leahy.
The Service will operate daily from 9.00 am to 7.00 pm until 28th February, 2011 but planning and fundraising is underway to extend this.