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Northern NSW : Rescue Winter 2017
Painful static electrical shocks were just part of many extreme conditions Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service’s Glen Ramplin and Nathan Langham endured as part of their heroic efforts during the Pasha Bulker storm. Mr Ramplin was winched down 18 times and Mr Langham was winched four times to pick up crew from the stricken bulk carrier, coping with 100km/h winds and huge waves pounding the unstable vessel. The nature of the storm and the effect of the rotor blades of the hovering helicopter combined to build up static electricity that was grounded every time the rescue winch cable touched the deck. Crew members recall seeing blue flames at one stage, and “down-the-wire guy Glen” was jolted every time he was winched down. Actually positioning him on the boat was an achievement in itself. It was just one of the many recollections that resurfaced when Service crew members gathered at the Newcastle Museum’s Remembering the Pasha Storm exhibition official opening on 16 May. The efforts of the Service featured prominently in the exhibition and Newcastle Lord Mayor, Nuatali Nelmes, paid tribute at the launch, describing the efforts as phenomenal and noting that many lives were saved. Councillor Nelmes is a voluntary member of the Service’s Board of Directors. ‘ The exhibition is a celebration of bravery, and we thank you for your work, not just during the Pasha storm, but every day,’ she said. The Service had two aircraft in operation on the day of the Pasha storm, a Bell 412 piloted by Ian Osborne, with Peter Praniess as crewperson and Nathan Langham on the end of the winch. The second aircraft was a BK117 on its first official mission with the Service after coming up from Melbourne. The pilot was Ian McFadden, winch operator was Graham Nickisson, with Mr Ramplin on the end of the winch. The 412 extracted four personnel off the Pasha Bulker before being called away to Clarence Town to a couple who had been washed off a causeway. The BK then rescued another 18. Remembering the Pasha Storm All down the line Emergency Services train together The Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service recently joined forces with other major emergency services to test their collective skills during a special training exercise using land, air and sea support at Newcastle’s Bar Beach on 2 June. In a simulated rock rescue involving more than 90 people the Rescue Helicopter joined Fire & Rescue NSW, NSW Police, NSW Ambulance, State Emergency Service, Hunter Surf Lifesaving, Newcastle City Council, John Hunter Hospital’s Critical Care Services, and Hunter New England Health. The exercise provided a great public safety message about the dangers of rock fishing and showed the importance of emergency services working together and investing time into training to ensure we are ready to respond 24/7. Rescue Helicopter crew 10 years on with Newcastle’s Lord Mayor, Nuatali Nelmes Photos courtesy of Judd Nightingale 18 Rescue Magazine WINTER 2017
Rescue Autumn 2017
Rescue Spring 2017