Sunday, May 04, 2014

Canterbury, New Zealand

Rescue chopper emergency landing

A rescue helicopter carrying an intensive care patient has made an emergency landing in a Canterbury paddock.

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter was transferring a patient from Ashburton Hospital to Christchurch Hospital when an indication warning light turned on this morning.

There were five people on board, including the pilot, a paramedic, a doctor, a flight nurse and the unfortunate patient.

Garden City Helicopters general manager Simon Duncan said the pilot was forced to make an emergency landing in a paddock near Springston.

He said it was a "heavy landing", but all five onboard were uninjured.

Duncan said the pilot was trained to handle the situation, and had done just that.

The flight nurse had suffered a neck spasm, but had been given an all clear by a doctor.

The BK117 twin-engine helicopter had minor damage to its skids, and would be transferred to Christchurch this afternoon for engineers to examine.

Duncan said the paramedic had radioed St John emergency services for help when the warning light had come on. An ambulance met them shortly after the landing to take the patient to the hospital.

The patient is in a stable condition in Christchurch Hospital.

Duncan said in his 13 years with the company it was the first emergency landing he could recall.

He has reported the incident to the Civil Aviation Authority, and will head to the landing site this afternoon.