With the support of our major sponsor the Westpac Banking Corporation, the Westpac Life Saver commenced a helicopter rescue service on the NSW south coast in the summer of 2010. It began as a daylight service over summer providing support to the volunteer, council and statutory emergency services.
Our service area boundaries are Shoalhaven Heads (in the Shoalhaven Council LGA) to the north and the Victorian border to the south (in the Bega Valley Shire LGA). Whilst core operations focus on the marine and coastal environment, the aircraft equipment and crew can operate at any location inland.
The coastline of south-east NSW is predominantly rugged cliffs and rock ledges occasionally inter-dispersed with sandy beaches. The area is well known for its remote locations and rescue services often have difficulty in accessing most locations along the seaboard. The NSW south coast is a well-known SLSA “black-spot”. A number of drowning’s having occurred in this region.
Operations include surf patrols on weekends and public holidays and callouts from the Surf Lifesaving Emergency Response System, Police and AusSAR (Australian Search and Rescue). The Westpac Life Saver was tasked to 67 missions during summer 2010-2011.
Our aircraft is based at Moruya Airport courtesy of the Eurobodalla Shire Council. While coastal rescue operations are our primary function the Service is able to respond to inland missions as the closest rescue helicopters are based in Canberra and Albion Park. The Moruya service operates during daylight hours, Monday to Sunday.
The Moruya aircraft callsign is Lifesaver 3.
It carries a crew of three and has the capability to carry an additional specialist crew, such as an ambulance paramedic, doctor or police officer as well as two patients.