The Eastland Community Trust Rescue Helicopter was launched in December 2010 showcasing ECT as the new naming sponsor and the newly integrated night vision goggles (the result of a $150,000 Mission for Night Vision fundraising campaign in 2009).
ECT has agreed to continue support for the Eastland Helicopter Rescue Trust to the tune of $1.25 million over the next five years because of its service to the entire Gisborne and East Coast area. The helicopter currently flies about 110 missions a year and covers the area between Mahia and Waikaremoana in the South to the East Cape and around to Te Kaha.
The range of services provided includes primary response for accidents and critically ill patients, search and rescue (including off-shore missions), and interhospital transfer throughout New Zealand. The helicopter also supports police operations, the fire service and Civil Defence.
ECT chairman Richard Brooking said the Trust felt the region would be significantly worse off without the service. Providing a rescue helicopter for a district such as Eastland with its low population density, and relatively hostile environment will always be a challenge and ECT will work with the helicopter Trust to help develop a more sustainable future.
Having the new helicopter complete with night vision goggles gives a sense of security to the whole region and more than 100,000 visitors we have each year. If an injured person is transferred to hospital within an hour of an accident, known as the "golden hour", it increases his or her chance of survival by 30 to 60%.
ECT has been a suppoter of the helicopter Trust in the past, providing the funding for a new tracking device in 2003.
The helicopter Trust will continue to administer the rescue service and manage the fundraising required to maintain it, which amounts to around $600,000 a year.