RAC Rescue celebrates 20 years of service

PIC: Stephen Dawson MLC/Facebook

RAC Rescue is celebrating 20 years of saving lives across Western Australia.

The helicopters have flown the equivalent of more than 50 trips around the world since their first mission on August 11, 2003.

The flight crew has flown more than 9,500 missions, including rescuing people during the Kimberley floods in January, performing aeromedical evacuations during bushfires in the South West and undertaking challenging sea rescues in the Great Australian Bight.

RAC Rescue is a free service to the community, funded by the State Government, sponsored by RAC and managed by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES).

It is WA's only emergency rescue helicopter service, operating from two bases in Jandakot and Bunbury, to respond to calls for help 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

The demand for emergency air rescue has grown substantially since 2003, with the second base opened in Bunbury in 2016 and a third back-up helicopter introduced in 2018.

"The flight crews and team behind RAC Rescue are the top of their field in the rescue aeromedical industry, having the skills and equipment to perform a wide range of missions including sea and land rescues, road crash rescue, night searches, complex cliff and mountain range hoists and responding to industrial and farming accidents," Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM said.

"RAC Rescue have proved vital at many significant emergencies in our State and the capability of the helicopters and crew are often the difference in emergency situations, not only in getting people to hospital faster but also reaching locations unreachable by foot, road or boat.

The milestone anniversary comes in the lead up to a significant fleet upgrade, with the State Government investing $26.7 million in three next-generation Leonardo AW139 rescue helicopters with increased flight range and some of the most advanced aviation rescue technology available.

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