Rescue staff 'catch their breath' after chopper crash

By Herald on Sunday, Rebecca Malcolm -
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Emergency services at the scene near Taupo hospital yesterday after a Bay Trust rescue helicopter crashed. Two people received minor injuries. JESSICA KATE WILLIAMSON
Emergency services at the scene near Taupo hospital yesterday after a Bay Trust rescue helicopter crashed. Two people received minor injuries. JESSICA KATE WILLIAMSON

Rescue helicopters from around the Central North Island will respond to any emergency callouts while members of the Rotorua base "catch their breath'' after last night's crash.

A pilot and a crew member had a lucky escape when their rescue helicopter crash-landed after striking tall trees while trying to land at Taupo Hospital yesterday.

Rotorua pilot Art Kowalski and another man walked away from the badly damaged BayTrust Rescue Helicopter.

The non-medical crew member was moderately injured in the crash landing and was last night being treated at Taupo Hospital.

Philips Search and Rescue Trust secretary David Wickham said the Rotorua base had a fully-operational backup helicopter at the base ready to go when the crew were ready.

Mr Wickham said the focus had been on making sure the people involved with the crash had the support they needed and ``in the immediate future'' the network of helicopters in Hamilton, Tauranga and Taupo would be responding to any Rotorua callouts.

He said it was too early to speculate on what happened yesterday.

The Civil Aviation Authority was expected at the scene today and the Philips Search and Rescue Trust would carry out its own investigation in time.

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