In fact, in the three months until August 30, Northland’s three rescue choppers flew 332 missions compared to 248 for the same period last year. Overall his year, there have been 920 call-outs and 883 flight hours to the end of August.
And NEST Chair Paul Ahlers says if that trend continues, the service will surpass yet another record for annual flights after totaling more than 1115 (1139 flight hours) in 2020, compared to 953 (1193 flight hours) in 2019.
With so much demand on the life-saving operation, an even greater emphasis has gone on pleas for public donations to help fund the service.
Our two month annual fundraising appeal is underway and we really need the ongoing support from the Northland community and visitors to the region,” says Mr Ahlers.
“I must pay particular tribute to our founding sponsors Top Energy and Northpower who have been with us since day one and who have contributed millions of dollars since 1988 to help keep people safe. That sponsorship means we can better ensure people in Northland are given the best chance of survival and wellbeing in the golden hour after an accident or medical event.
“Not only that, but Northpower and Top Energy manage our annual fundraising appeal and contribute $250,000 towards the appeal every year. And they contribute lots more in the background without wanting recognition. So I thank them for their support because like us, they are here for the Northland community 24/7, trying to keep us safe and keeping the power on. We are all part of a really great community.”
Top Energy and Northpower Chief Executives, Russell Shaw and Andrew McLeod respectively, say they and their staff are immensely proud of their association with Northland’s Rescue Helicopters.
The Northland Rescue Helicopters are essential for a region like Northland with so many remote pockets of land and the diversity of the landscape,” the pair say. “We all know someone who has been helped by the service and that is why we continue to support it and encourage people to donate to the annual fundraising appeal.”