Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, Australia, has identified changes in both the number of accidents between 2020 and 2021 and the nature of accidents.
Richard Jones, CEO of Westpac Rescue, said: “We initially saw a decline in the number of accidents. There were fewer car accidents and fewer recreational holiday accidents.”
Westpac Rescue, which operates a fleet of four Pratt & Whitney Canada-powered Leonardo AW139 helicopters, has traditionally specialised in sea rescues, but notes that stay-at-home orders influenced a change in the nature of accidents.
Jones continued: “We saw more domestic household accidents as well as farm accidents, as people in country towns and surrounding rural areas were confined to their homes.”
With the vast expanse of New South Wales – 801,000 square kilometers – making road transport impractical for critical patient care, Jones emphasised the flexibility of helicopters, such as the AW139, to land on farms and roadsides inaccessible to fixed-wing aircraft.