Canterbury and West Coast Westpac Crew Update
November and December have been very busy months for the crew as the busy summer period is starting to roll around the corner for the crew of Canterbury West Coast Air Rescue Helicopter
Crew training has also been a priority. In July, members of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter crew participated in a large-scale avalanche response exercise near Mt Cheeseman Ski Area. The crew is currently focusing on completing training to deal with summer conditions. Winch training and HUET underwater training are just some of the exercises the crew have and will complete. In December and February the rescue crew will complete helicopter underwater escape training (HUET). This involves the crew being plunged into the water in a ‘simulation’ of what could occur in an accident off-shore. The crew go through various scenarios.
Holiday season is fast approaching and around this period the crew can get extremely busy. Public holidays and long weekends have also played a role in the increase of mission numbers in October with 13 missions occurring over the Labour Day long weekend alone. In November the Labour Day long weekend also saw the rescue crews resources stretched. One particular mission over the long weekend saw a hiker jump into a pool of water, only to land on a submerged rock. This resulted in an ankle fracture/dislocation for the patient and they were winched out of a canyon at Sylvia Falls. In the months of November there were 11 missions that lasted longer than 3 hours each.
The West Coast has introduced their new trolley which is a fantastic new addition to the base across in Greymouth. The trolley is home to the twin engine BK117-B2 Rescue Helicopter in Greymouth. Big thanks to the all the crew, Greymouth Mitre 10 Mega, Quality Machining Limited Greymouth and the team at International Panel and Lumber Ltd (IPL) Greymouth who helped make this happen!