Great News for the West Coast Service
The new NASO contract awarded to HEMS was announced last week. Effectively it is a very positive step forward for Air Rescue and especially for those on the West Coast as the current West Coast Squirrel will be replaced with a twin engine BK- 117- B2.
The crew have been hard at work at the Greymouth base. They have had to re-enforce the landing base to accommodate the weight of the new machine. Additionally, they are also building a new trolley to get it in and out of the hangar, and we want to acknowledge Mitre 10 for supporting this. The crew and rescue pilots have been under-going special training in anticipation of the different machine. Safe to say the crew is looking forward to its arrival.
The BK- 117- B2 has many benefits for the Greymouth team. It enables the crew to transport 2 patients at once, there is more room for treating patients and it is safer with 2 engines, the crew will be able to conduct underwater missions, in the future, once training has commenced. There will be other service enhancements which we will keep you posted on once implemented.
A temporary BK- 117- B2 will be dispatched to the West Coast due to the tight timings with the announcement. This will be replaced in due course and the new machine fully branded. Relevant sponsors will feature including, of course, our main naming rights sponsor NZCC. We look forward to celebrating the arrival of the new permanent BK fully branded and will certainly have a function in Greymouth to mark this milestone.