Winching Resumed on the Tamworth NSW Ambulance & Westpac Rescue Helicopter

Written by: Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, 05 Apr 2018

Winching Resumed on the Tamworth NSW Ambulance & Westpac Rescue Helicopter


5 April 2018

Winching Resumed on the Tamworth NSW Ambulance & Westpac Rescue Helicopter

Chief Executive Officer of Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, Richard Jones OAM, has today welcomed the announcement by Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson MP that winching operations have resumed on the Service’s Tamworth based helicopter.

An independent review into aeromedical operations led to winching operations being suspended in 2013, to ensure the safety of crews and patients. Winching operations have now resumed following the implementation of the NSW Government’s $151.2 million state-wide Helicopter Retrieval Network.

"The reintroduction of winching capability on our Tamworth aircraft ensures our crews can better respond to a diverse range of incidents" Jones said.

"The winch can be used to insert a NSW Ambulance helicopter paramedic and Local Health District doctor directly in to inaccessible locations. Very simply, it helps us get directly to patients without needing to land the helicopter."

"The medical team can carry vital life-saving equipment like a ventilator or defibrillator and the winch can also be used to extricate critical patients. Once on-board the helicopter, the patient’s medical treatment continues in-flight back to hospital."

Under its new ten year partnership with NSW Ambulance, the Service is flying a standardised fleet of Agusta Westland AW139 helicopters from three bases in Tamworth, Lismore and Belmont Airports.

"The AW139 is a highly capable aircraft, commonly described as a flying ICU. The winch offers 280 feet of usable length and can lift around 250kg. The winch can be used day and night, with the assistance of night vision goggles."

"The most common scenarios for winching in the New England North West are expected to be accidents involving motor vehicles in inaccessible areas or mountain adventure sports like bushwalking, mountain biking, horse riding or para and hang gliding."

The Tamworth based NSW Ambulance & Westpac Rescue Helicopter is on standby 24-7 with a dedicated medical crew.

"The men and women in our crews have worked incredibly hard through an intensive training program and I am very thankful for their efforts and dedication."

"We are ever grateful for the support we receive from our communities and we’re proud that our Service continues to grow stronger, while ensuring nobody pays to be assisted".

--- ENDS ---