The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter was kept busy over the Christmas period, 35 missions completed across the three bases in Lismore, Belmont and Tamworth.
The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter was kept busy over the Christmas period, 35 missions completed across the three bases in Lismore, Belmont and Tamworth. Contributed

Helicopter flies 12 missions in 11 days

OVER the Christmas period the Lismore-based Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter has flown 12 missions.

In the 11 days between December 23 and January 2, the Northern NSW Helicopter Service has flown 35 missions from its three bases in Belmont, Tamworth and Lismore.

The 12 missions flown by the Lismore crews included motor vehicle and dirt bike accidents, a yacht hitting powerlines, a beacon search for bushwalkers in the Gibraltar range, along with medical transfers.

Two shifts - one working from 7am to 7pm, and the other from 7pm to 7am - were rostered on each day throughout the year, with each flight carrying a duty pilot, a duty air crewman, a doctor and a paramedic.

Barry Walton from the helicopter service said with the amalgamation of the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service and NSW Ambulance in March, and helicopters now carrying a doctor and a paramedic, they were able offer more primary care in the field, which resulted in better patient recovery.

Mr Walton said the new Augusta Westland AW139 helicopters offered greater speed, endurance and safety.

He said since the fleet upgrade began in March 2017 the aircraft combined have reached more than two thousand engine hours.

He said it was one of the busiest periods the crews had for some time.