The right training makes all the difference.

In the past 12 months the crew have responded to 41 Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) emergency call outs across Canterbury and the West Coast. The Crew describe PLBs as “gold”, as they quite simply save lives.

This Training Appeal we need your help. If we can raise $215,000 to provide training for each Crew member this year, we can safely save lives in our community. You can make a difference. 

The Crew conduct extensive training with Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ). The PLB is a small electronic device that on activation, broadcasts a signal to a satellite and alerts RCCNZ that you are in distress. RCCNZ determines the exact location of the beacon and calls the people registered as emergency contacts.

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter is then tasked, and help is on its way. 

Search and Rescue training with RCCNZ is essential for the Crew and certainly leads to lives being saved; there is nothing worse than being injured or stranded in the bush without backup.

We are very blessed to have such wonderful and loyal supporters who we rely on in times of need; especially now as we enter 2021, the Crew are focused on being prepared to respond when the next call comes in.



Intensive Care Paramedic, Brent who loves to venture into the great outdoors whenever he can, was telling me about a recent mission where a PLB and their training made a life-saving difference. Two friends were out fossicking for gold on the West Coast, when one slipped and fell off the track. It was a 15m drop and he landed in the riverbank, knocking himself unconscious. Fortunately, a passerby on the track activated their PLB, and help was on its way.

The bush was so thick they could not be seen and there was no place to land. The Crew landed as close as possible and met with the Land Search and Rescue (LandSAR) and Police team. Brent told me they ended up doing a gruelling 3-hour trek through the bush to locate the patient, who had sustained a spinal injury and significant head and facial wounds.

When these people are rescued, Rob says, you can see it in their eyes, they know how close they came. From the moment the button is pressed on the PLB, there follows a string of well-trained moves that result in a life being saved.



Like the PLB missions, offshore missions are TIME CRITICAL and any lost minute can potentially alter the outcome - no one can put a foot wrong, with each member of the Crew relying on the absolute support and training from one another.

Whether it’s landing on a cruise ship or winching an injured patient from a fishing boat, the Crew are always at the ready. There are many scenarios to train for, with one of the trickier vessels being sailing boats. Intensive Care Paramedic Scott remembers one in particular that saw him needing to be winched down into a dingy behind a yacht, due to the vessel’s mast and the rigging, and then pulled onboard.

These situations described by the Crew can often be the most frightening for patients; lost, disoriented, and injured out in the bush; or cold, vulnerable in treacherous seas far from land and far from loved ones.

This is why we need your help today. If we can raise $215,000 to provide training for each Crew member this year, we can safely save lives in our community. You can make a difference.



“Training gives the Crew the confidence to go out in these situations, to adapt and save lives in the most difficult of circumstances." Mike McLintock- Crewman and Training Manager

Many lives have been, and will be, saved by the rescue helicopter but this would not be the case without your ongoing support

Quite simply, without your support for this essential training we would not be able to save these lives.

Your donation today will prepare the Crew to be there when it matters for someone in your community tomorrow.

Please support the Crew today so we can get this training done.



We rescued 959 people

in 2018 alone


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