Saturday, May 25, 2024

Rescue helicopter crews face rising costs for lifesaving missions 

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Tomorrow, May 2, Westpac teams around the country will be out and about raising funds for their local rescue helicopter service in the annual Chopper Street Appeal.

New Zealanders are urged to give generously this Chopper Appeal Month to support the thousands of lifesaving missions flown by our rescue helicopters every year as costs of equipment and training continue to rise.  

Around 9228 helicopter missions were flown by New Zealand’s nationwide network of rescue helicopters in 2023, including 1036 missions in the Auckland and Coromandel regions. 

Tomorrow, May 2, Westpac teams around the country will be out and about raising funds for their local rescue helicopter service in the annual Chopper Street Appeal. 

Westpac NZ chief executive Catherine McGrath says people who are saved by a chopper often tell their rescuers of their relief when they hear a helicopter on its way. 

“For the thousands of people who need rescuing every year – many in life-or-death situations – there’s no greater sound than a chopper approaching,” says McGrath. 

 “No matter where you are in the country, it’s comforting to know that the expert services of a chopper crew usually aren’t far away. 

“As a proud partner of the rescue helicopters for more than four decades, Westpac team members around the country will be busy throughout May raising money for an important cause.  Every dollar makes a difference, so we’re asking New Zealanders to dig deep to help keep those blades turning and keep communities safe.” 

Last year, the Westpac Chopper Appeal raised $1.4 million for the rescue helicopter trusts around the country. 

Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust chairman John Duncan says the public’s generosity has helped the trust invest in the capabilities of its aircraft and crew. 

“Our team are highly specialised, and we take great pride in providing New Zealanders with first class medical care in some of their greatest times of need,” Duncan says. 

“We need to invest in regular equipment upgrades, maintenance and training, and those costs are rising all the time. We know Kiwi families are feeling cost pressures too, which is why we’re hugely grateful to anyone who can donate even a small amount over the month of May.” 

Westpac funds the marketing and administration costs of the Chopper Appeal and distributes all funds raised back to donors’ local rescue helicopter trust. 

People wishing to make a donation or find out more can visit www.chopperappeal.co.nz 

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