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Eastern Courier : December 6th 2013
Friday, December 6, 2013 THE COASTGUARD AND WESTPAC RESCUE HELICOPTER WORKING TOGETHER We are a team By ROSE CAWLEY SAVING lives on the water is a team effort. Rough conditions, treacherous situations and medical emergencies sometimes require more than the Coastguard can deliver – and that’s when the Westpac rescue helicopter is called in to help. Howick Coastguard vice president Craig Houkamau says it’s vital for the two organisations to know how to work together. And that’s Training time, from left: Howick Coastguard volunteers Darren Arthur and Warwick Marshall get ready to guide the Westpac rescue helicopter paramedic onto the boat. Photos: KERRIWALKER Safe landing, right: The paramedic sits comfortably on the deck of Howick Rescue 1 after practising a winch underway manoeuvre where both the boat and helicopter are moving. Winch training: Howick Coastguard vice president Craig Houkamau. Photo: ROSE CAWLEY why the unit pulled the tinsel off its boat straight after the Howick Christmas parade on Saturday and went to train in blustery conditions with the helicopter crew. ‘‘It is all well and good to possible with sea rescues. ‘‘If they are in the middle of the Firth of Thames and there isn’t a place close at hand for the helicopter to land, a winching operation will take place.’’ Mr Houkamau says the winch training would most likely be put into practice if a boatie needed medical attention. ‘‘Westpac and Coast- Go to eastern courier.co.nz and click on Latest Edition to see a video of the winch training. guard would be called to assist them and that is where a paramedic would either be winched directly on to the boat that is being assisted or onto our boat and we would take them across.’’ Mr Houka- mau says 20 Howick volunteers now have the practical training under their belt. ‘‘Theory is well and good go out in dead flat calm weather and go through the motions but unfortunately there are a lot of situations where we are going to be working together and the conditions aren’t going to be like that. ‘‘Everything went ex- actly to plan and if in challenging conditions it all happened for real each organisation would have faith in the other.’’ He says the first option is always for Westpac to land but that is often not but when it comes to actually doing it nothing prepares you better than physical training,’’ Mr Houkamau says. A highlight was Howick Rescue 1 ploughing along a mapped course and the helicopter swooping in and winching a paramedic on to the deck, he says. ‘‘The helicopter has bet- ter stability when it is moving, that is why they like to do it but the boat going through the 1-2 metre swells made it a bit challenging.’’ Xmaswin: One lucky winner and three friends will meet Stan Walker at the Park. Get to know Stan Walker Here is your chance to win a meeting with pop star Stan Walker. The X Factor judge, actor, singer and 2009 Australian Idol winner is the headline act in this year’s Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park show at the Auckland Domain on December 14. We’ve teamed up with TV3 to give a lucky reader and three friends the opportunity to meet Stan on the night. Simply email your name and daytime contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm on December 9 and you’ll go into the draw. The winner will also receive a TV3 Xmas hamper. This year’s 20th anniversary show is partly sponsored by Suburban Newspapers, publisher of the Eastern Courier, and starts at 7.30pm. The event will be topped off by a spectacular fireworks finale. The show will be hosted by 7 Days’ Jeremy Corbett and highlights will screen on TV3 from 7pm on December 15. DIGITAL VIEW Check out our great digital edition. It’s an exact copy of the print edition, but with extra interactive content. Go to easterncourier.co.nz and click on Latest Edition.
December 4th 2013