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Auckland Westpac helicopter has record rescues over Christmas

Published: 5:01PM Wednesday January 16, 2013 Source: ONE News

  • Westpac Rescue Helicopter (Source: ONE News)
    Westpac Rescue Helicopter - Source: ONE News

The Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter has had its busiest Christmas and New Year holiday period on record with almost 50% more rescue missions than last year.

The rescue choppers completed 65 rescue missions between December 24 and January 6, compared to 44 missions for the same period 12 months ago.

The busiest regions were the summer hotspots of Waiheke Island, Thames and Coromandel.

More than triple the number of rescues were made in Thames and Coromandel on the previous year.

Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust chief executive Bob Parkinson said having a helicopter based in Whitianga at a new hangar helped provide a more efficient service to the Coromandel region.

"The Coromandel is exceptionally busy over the Christmas period with many holiday makers, especially Aucklanders, choosing this as their destination of choice. With more people out on the water, on the road, and busy with holiday activities there is always an increase in a need for our services over the summer holiday period," he said.

"Our dedicated team has stepped up to perform a record number of rescues over the holidays, despite the potential for fatigue."

One of the two rescue helicopters has been based at the new Whitianga hangar since Boxing Day and will remain there until the end of this month.

The second helicopter remains based at Mechanics Bay in Auckland to service the greater Auckland region.