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Three recent rescues in region by helicopter trust

The Grassroots Trust Rescue Helicopter [GTRH] service – which responds to callouts to roadside and off-road incidents, marine mayday calls, bush and mountain search and rescue missions, hospital transfers, and rural and remote medical and accident emergencies – was kept busy during April, including with three missions in Wairarapa.

The service mainly operates in the Manawatū and Whanganui regions and operates alongside Life Flight, whose planes and Westpac rescue choppers provide the majority of such services in Wairarapa.

However, GTRH is deployed to Wairarapa if Life Flight’s resources are unavailable.

Its first deployment to the region in April was to Dalefield on the afternoon of April 16.

“We went to help a female patient who needed winching from a remote location,” a GTRH spokesperson said.

“One of the crew was winched down to stabilise the patient; she was then flown to Wellington Hospital for further treatment.”

The second Wairarapa incident at Tararua Forest Park on April 21, after a man activated a personal locator beacon after being injured in a fall from a quad bike.

During this mission, the onboard critical care flight paramedic was winched to the bottom of a gully, approximately 120 feet below the helicopter.

The patient was successfully stabilised and winched out, after which he was taken to Wellington Hospital for further treatment, the spokesperson said.

The final job took place at Mataikona near Sandy Bay Dr on April 25, after a man in his 50s came off his motorcycle on the beach, fracturing his leg.

The rescue was made slightly more challenging by windspeeds of 55kph and gusts reaching 100kph, but the patient was safely retrieved and then transferred to Palmerston North Hospital.

In total, GTRH undertook 44 missions across Manawatū, Whanganui, and Wairarapa during April.

Given that such missions are vital to ensuring people get urgent medical care quickly, the spokesperson made a point of noting that donations from the community are crucial to help keep the service going.

Anyone wishing to donate to GTRH can do so by visiting rescue.org.nz

Freddie Wilkie
Freddie Wilkie
Freddie Wilkie is a journalist at the Wairarapa Times-Age; originally moving from Christchurch, he is interested in housing stories as well as covering emergencies and crime.

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