Chief pilot Lynton Beggs (at front) with the pilots and crew of the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter.
Chief pilot Lynton Beggs (at front) with the pilots and crew of the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter. Bruce Thomas

Helicopter in full flight

IT’S official – Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter crews have had their busiest January ever.

The service, which covers the Coffs Harbour region and other parts of the North Coast, flew 44 missions last month, the second busiest month on record.

The most hectic month was way back in May 1988 when the region was hit by two severe floods.

Those 44 missions were made up of 26 primary missions, 16 secondary missions (inter-hospital transfers) and two search and rescue missions.

On top of the 44 missions, an additional 10 flights were conducted for pilot, crew and medical staff training.

Chief pilot Lynton Beggs said the professionalism of the pilots, crew and medical staff enabled the high number of rescues to be carried out.

Mr Beggs said saving lives was an expensive business.

“Obviously, the more rescues we do, the more it costs to run this service,” he said. “At an average cost of $5000 per mission, it cost about $220,000 to do the 44 January missions.

“But I think emergency services, and the community in general, realise the rescue helicopter is now an essential part of any rescue and that’s why we’ve come to be relied on so heavily.”



New $10.6m rehab centre in Coffs to combat ice epidemic

Premium Content New $10.6m rehab centre in Coffs to combat ice epidemic

The new 40-bed facility aims to alleviate the growing demand for addiction...

Lane 4 bows out and Council dives in

Premium Content Lane 4 bows out and Council dives in

Swim coordinator wanted to help take on management of public pools.

Firefighters battle more than flames as storm rages

Premium Content Firefighters battle more than flames as storm rages

Firefighters had to battle more than flames last night when they responded to a...