The Sydney based Southern Region Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter is extending its coverage of aerial beach patrols to include the NSW south coast beginning this summer.
In April, the rescue helicopter service’s major sponsor, Westpac Banking Corporation, pledged an increase of almost $2 million per year to Surf Life Saving Australia to help extend its presence in high risk areas around Australia including regional Victoria, southern NSW, the Sunshine Coast and the Northern Territory.
The boost in funding will allow for helicopter surf patrols, aquatic rescues and other emergency taskings along the coastal region from Nowra down to the Victorian border on weekends and public holidays for the next three summers.
To be crewed by a pilot, an aircrewman and a rescue crewman, Southern Region Life Saver’s south coast rescue service is scheduled to begin from December 1 running through to until the end of February each year using one of its two BK117B2s, VH-SLA ‘Lifesaver 3’.
“We hope the service might be extended based on community support,” said Stephen Leahy, Southern Region Westpac Life Saver Rescue’s general manager. “The intent is for the service to become a permanent operation.”
Negotiations are currently underway with Eurobodalla Council to base the helicopter from a hangar at Moruya Airport.