“Thank You and Stay Safe” – A Message from the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Team

Written by: WRHS, 20 Dec 2018

“Thank You and Stay Safe” – A Message from the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Team

“Thank You and Stay Safe” – A Message from the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Team

The end of each calendar year provides a time to reflect, thank those who have supported us, review our year and plan for the opportunities.

For most people in Northern NSW, warmer weather brings holidays and the festive season. It’s a time to connect with family and friends, celebrate with colleagues and hopefully take some time out and travel. It’s a time when many in our community are out enjoying the best of our great outdoors.

However for our Service the end of each year also signals what is usually our busiest time responding to those in need. Whether that’s in the ocean, waterways, farms, bushland, hiking or spending time on the roads - we want you to stay safe. We also want you to be comforted in knowing that our Westpac Rescue Helicopters are on standby 24-7 across our three bases at Belmont, Tamworth and Lismore.

And while our bases, helicopters and people might have changed over many decades, our commitment to our community has not. It is our community that enables us to be there when and where we are needed and for that we are so incredibly grateful.

The Service is extremely thankful for the support received in 2018 and with the year coming to an end and another about to begin, I would like to acknowledge our passionate team of people who contribute to keeping the helicopters flying. To our Volunteers, Board of Directors, Regional Advisory Committees, Administration Staff, Engineers, Pilots, Aircrew Officers, NSW Ambulance Paramedics, NSW Health Doctors and everyone in the emergency service chain - I say thank you.

Together with the community we are proud to be making a difference in so many people’s lives. Thank you for your continued support.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Jones OAM

Chief Executive Officer

Westpac Rescue Helicopter



About the Community’s Own AW139 Rescue Helicopter


  • Crews are on standby 24-7 from the three bases in Belmont, Tamworth and Lismore. They work every day of the year including public holidays through summer.


  • The crew on-board the aircraft includes a Pilot, Aircrew Officer, NSW Ambulance Paramedic, NSW Health Doctor and depending of the needs of each patient the team may include specialist nursing professionals and doctors.


  • The on-board medical capability of the aircraft can be described as a flying ICU and is a highly advanced emergency medical service platform.


  • The Medical fitout includes advanced diagnostic equipment; fracture and splinting kit; surgical equipment; ventilator; portable and plumbed oxygen units; vital signs monitor and defibrillation device; haemorrhage control and more. It can also carry neonatal cribs and specialist equipment for search and rescue missions.


  • All aircraft in Belmont, Tamworth and Lismore have full winching capability, following the reintroduction of winching operations in Tamworth in April 2018.



Mission Data Snapshot
  • 25% of all missions to date in 2018 have been to Motor Vehicle Accidents.


  • Inter Hospital Transfers are critical missions in which a patient within Hospital requires upgraded care and is airlifted to an appropriate destination.


  • On top of Motor Vehicle Accidents and Inter Hospital Transfers, common reasons for call-outs include Search and Rescue, medical conditions, drownings or missing people and accidents in industrial, farming and sporting environments.


  • In December last year and January this year the Rescue Helicopter flew 261 missions at an average of 4 or 5 missions per day.


  • The rate of being called out to a drowning in December / January was four times higher than the average of all months.


  • Crews respond to provide assistance for medical conditions that can include heart attacks, strokes and asthma attacks.


  • Missions are undertaken over land and water, including offshore boating incidents or to assist persons injured or fallen seriously ill on ships.