Quieter summer for rescue chopper

By Kyra Dawson

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The BayTrust rescue helicopter.
The BayTrust rescue helicopter.

The BayTrust Rescue Helicopter has had a quieter summer than last year, something the Rotorua base manager is taking as a positive sign.

During the December, January and February just gone, the Rotorua-based rescue chopper attended 36 missions. That's 14 fewer than the 50 it attended in 2014/15.

In 2015, the service attended 116 callouts, compared to 134 in 2014.

The helicopter service was founded in 1992 to provide Rotorua and Bay of Plenty regions with air ambulance and air search and rescue services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

As well as base manager/pilot Barry Vincent and pilot Ben Fry the crew is made up of volunteers and a fundraising and marketing team.

Mr Vincent said it was hard to compare statistics from year to year because it was different people, different situations and different weather involved.

"But, isn't it great that we flew these missions and, hopefully, the statistics mean people are being more careful on the roads and while enjoying their summer activities."

He said he couldn't put his finger on why there had been fewer missions this year but he was taking it as a positive sign.

"We have had a wide range in tasks, no matter how careful people are, accidents are still going to happen and we are there to help."

The chopper's operational costs were $1 million a year and more than 50 per cent of that was funded by the community.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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