New Zealand-based rescue service Waikato Westpac Rescue was en route to a patient on 19 September, when an incident occurred.
During the flight to the popular hiking and recreational area of Mount Pirongia, the incident took place resulting in a heavy landing for the helicopter.
On board at the time was the pilot, a critical care flight paramedic, and a crewmember. No injuries were reported.
Two additional aircraft were immediately dispatched to the scene to provide assistance. Their primary mission was to locate and extract both the patient and the helicopter’s crew in a safe and efficient manner.
The rescue service has confirmed that all its crew are safe and well, but they were taken to Waikato Hospital as a precaution.
The recovery process of the helicopter will commence over the next few days, which will be determined by the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) as the helicopter is situated in deep, dense bush.
The helicopter is also currently under police cordon. Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter’s website states: “We urge everyone to cooperate with the authorities and to refrain from entering the designated area until the recovery process is completed. The safety of everyone is our top priority, and we appreciate cooperation and understanding with this.”
The service has also reassured the public that it has ‘three branded Westpac rescue helicopters in our Waikato fleet, one of which was involved in the incident, BK117-HHJ’, but that the organization is still ‘operational 24/7’.