Westpac rescue chopper needs your help to keep flying

AT LEAST six times every week, the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter comes to the aid of people at their most desperate of times.

The service relies on community support to reach its annual fundraising target of $4million.

That's why the Coffs Coast Advocate has placed a donation envelope into today's paper - to help keep the rescue helicopters flying and saving lives in our local communities.

One man who has seen how invaluable the service can be is Coffs Harbour resident Anthony Hulbert.

Four months ago, Anthony was trail riding through Tucker's Nob State Forest when his motorcycle slipped in wet conditions, skidded and locked on a sharp descent.

THANKFUL: Anthony Hulbert was rescued by the Westpac rescue chopper after a trail bike accident. Trevor Veale
THANKFUL: Anthony Hulbert was rescued by the Westpac rescue chopper after a trail bike accident. Trevor Veale Trevor Veale

The bike landed on Anthony and the handlebars crushed his right leg.

"I knew I was in a bad spot for people to come to me. I knew I needed help," he said.

Anthony called emergency services and the friend he was due to trail ride with that day.

"We discussed how we were going to get ourselves out of there - with the conditions of the terrain it wasn't going to happen on a motorbike," he said.

The conditions also hampered rescue efforts by paramedics to reach him by vehicle.

Emergency crews called the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter, which came to Anthony's aid.

The whir of a helicopter equipped with a doctor and a paramedic provided instant relief for Anthony.

He was winched out of the forest and airlifted to Coffs Harbour Base Hospital.

"They were able to find a clearing in the forest and administered the medical assistance I needed at the time," he said.

"It's an invaluable service."

Anthony is making a steady recovery after doctors successfully inserted a tibial nail into his right leg.

Anthony has also donated to the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter.

Westpac Rescue Life Saver Helicopter Service fundraising and community relations officer Russ Holland said it was absolutely critical the Coffs Coast community supported the appeal.

"It's one of our major fundraisers each year in our attempt to raise around $4 million a year to keep the helicopters flying," Russ said.

"Without community support we can't do what we have done for Anthony and many other local people.

"This appeal highlights that this is our community helicopter. Without this being in service there is no back-up, there is no alternative service," he said.

Find your donation envelope to support the North Coast Westpac Helicopter Service inside today's Advocate.



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