New Surf Life rescue helicopter
Western Australia has a new AW119Ke rescue helicopter
Surf Life Saving WA’s new Westpac Lifesaver AgustaWestland AW119Ke rescue helicopter started patrolling the Perth coast.
The helicopter arrived last week from New Zealand and was purchased by SLSWA who have now moved to an owner operator model for the service, thanks to the philanthropic support of Tim Roberts.
“The assistance and support of Tim Roberts and his AvWest group has made the purchase of this new helicopter a possibility,” said SLSWA president Mark Irwin.
The Agusta Westland 119Ke Koala aircraft is a significant upgrade on the previous helicopter leased by SLSWA over the past three summer seasons.
“The Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter will provide SLSWA greater flexibility in our service delivery, improve cost efficiency and allow greater tasking scope to other emergency agencies, such as WA Police and FESA,” said Irwin.
Additional funding from the State Government of Western Australia was allocated to SLSWA to allow the helicopter to patrol every day until the end of April 2012, delivering an additional 77 flying days compared to the 2010/11 season.
“Surf Life Saving WA is grateful to the State Government of Western Australia for their ongoing support of both the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter service and other SLSWA services and programs,” said Irwin.
The helicopter will be named after the late John Roberts AO, in honour of the support the Roberts family has provided Surf Life Saving in Western Australia and the wider WA community, with his name featuring on the nose of the aircraft.
“The Roberts family have been great supporters of Surf Life Saving in WA over many decades and we are pleased to be able to honour John in this way and also acknowledge the valued support and assistance Tim has provided, allowing SLSWA to move down the path of owning our own helicopter,” said Irwin.