LIFE SAVER: The Northern Region Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter lands on sports fields at Maclean this week.
LIFE SAVER: The Northern Region Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter lands on sports fields at Maclean this week.

Rescue helicopter gets serious workout


THE Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter has been busy in the Clarence Valley.

It travelled from its base at Lismore to Maclean and Grafton on Thursday and returned to Grafton yesterday.

A 40-year-old Brushgrove woman was taken by Maclean Ambulance to Maclean Base Hospital on Thursday after an accident at Woombah.

Police said the woman appeared to have lost control of her motorcycle at 8.30am on Iluka Road.

The woman suffered back and shoulder pain and abrasions to her hands and knees.

A few hours later she was transferred from Maclean District Hospital to Lismore Base Hospital by the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter.

A spokesman for Maclean Hospital said the helicopter landed at Wherrett Park opposite the hospital instead of the helipad at Maclean Lookout.

On Thursday the helicopter transfered a local 19-year-old female from Grafton Base Hospital to Gold Coast Hospital at Southport for further care.

The patient had suffered multiple trauma including spinal injury, fractures and head injuries from a horse riding accident.

Assistant operations manager of Northern Rivers Ambulance Service, Charles Nicholson, said the helicopter was called to Grafton Base Hospital at 3.30pm.

Chief pilot Lynton Beggs said the helicopter flew to the Clarence Valley on average two to three times a month.

Yesterday the helicopter was again called at 3.30pm to the Grafton hospital.

Mr Beggs said it was a 'straightforward inter-hospital transfer of an elderly man with serious medical condition into high level care'.

Publicity officer for Maclean Rotary Club hospital helipad appeal, Ian Braund said the helicopter landing at the sports field highlighted the need for the helipad at the Maclean and District Hospital.

He said landing conditions, including strong winds at the Maclean Lookout Helipad, could make it unsafe for the helicopter to land.

"First and foremost safety is a factor, the safety of the patient and pilot," Mr Braund said.

He said the official opening of the new helipad would be on March 5.

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