LAST week the Snowy Hydro SouthCare Helicopter service celebrated 15 years of service since 1998.
Over fifteen years, Snowy Hydro SouthCare has performed over 5,300 missions, saving lives and impacting on countless communities across the ACT & South Eastern NSW region, including our own of course.
The quality of service and care provided to the region is a testament to the highly trained and skilled flight and medical crew.
Several of the Snowy Hydro SouthCare crew members have been with the service since 1998, including Pilot Simon Lovell, Engineer Colin Hobbs, and Intensive Care Paramedics Michelle Blewitt, Grant Hogan and Michael Abigail.
In this time, the helicopter has attended primary accidents flying directly to the scene, transferred patients between health care facilities throughout the region, engaged in search and rescue operations and provided relief during natural disasters.
Notable missions include Snowy Hydro SouthCare’s role in the 1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht race where patients were winched to safety from high seas. As well, in 2003 when Snowy Hydro SouthCare retrieved a helicopter pilot after he crashed into Bendora Dam.
There are also the countless missions each day that go unreported, few realising that the service performs an average of two helicopter missions per day.
Many past patients have thanked the service and its crew for providing them a ‘second chance at life’, and they say: “where would we be without this service”.
The helicopter service has come a long way since its beginning in 1998 when based at the Canberra Airport with no helicopter hangar, or dedicated crew facilities.
The crew, including a pilot, aircrewman, intensive care paramedic and doctor are now on base 24/7, 365 days per year at its base on the Monaro Highway, Hume.
Demand for the service continues to grow each year, and with it the need for community support.
The Snowy Hydro SouthCare Rescue Helicopter has experienced another increase in missions in the past year, recording 498 aero-medical retrievals and 65 road retrievals.
In the past two years helicopter missions in the ACT and Southern NSW have soared with 448 completed last year and 372 missions performed in 2011.
Snowy Hydro SouthCare could not exist without the generous and ongoing support from its major naming rights partner, Snowy Hydro Limited, sponsors, community and service partners and donors.
“With increasing demand for the service each year, it reinforces the need for ongoing support and funding,” Snowy Hydro SouthCare CEO, Mr Owen Finegan says.
“We are extremely grateful to the community and corporate partners who have helped fund flights and equipment, keeping Snowy Hydro SouthCare in the air for the past 15 years.”