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Wed, Dec 26, 2007

NZ's Westpac Helo Scores Two More Rescues... On Christmas Eve

The Wellington (NZ) based Westpac Rescue Helicopter folks scored two more rescues over the holidays with the safe recovery of two divers near Cape Palliser on Christmas Eve.

At 1945 (local), the Central Police Communications notified helicopter crews that two divers were being swept out to sea near Cape Palliser. A few minutes later police reported that the divers had made it safely to a rock about 300 metres off shore but needed to be uplifted from there and brought to shore.

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter, with two crew and a pilot were airborne at 8pm, and thanks to gale force northerly winds, arrived at Cape Palliser in only 13 minutes.

"The winds were around 35 knots and made the flight quick but made the winch rescue quite challenging" says Harry Stevenson, Westpac Rescue Helicopter Pilot. "It was quite tricky maintaining a hover over the divers, but we managed to get the divers off the rock, one at a time, quickly".

The rescued divers were a 58 year old male and an 18 year old female, both from Masterton, and believed to be father and daughter. Both were safely on shore by 8:25pm.

"When I put down the winch harness the guy helped the younger woman into the harness, and then was able to get into in quickly when we returned for him," says Logan Taylor, Westpac Rescue Helicopter crewman.

"Once they were both on shore we checked them and they were unhurt, but very grateful to be back on solid land".

Now... that folks, is a happy holiday.

FMI: www.lifeflight.org.nz

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