21 Oct 2020

The Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter was called out to Waiheke Island

The Westpac Rescue Helicopters are used to saving lives but on Sunday they helped welcome a new one. 

The Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter was called out to Waiheke Island on Sunday afternoon to pick up a woman in labour. 

At 6.20pm, six minutes into the 12-minute flight to Auckland Hospital, the baby was delivered at 1200 feet. 

“We were half-way to the hospital when the baby came, which is the first time that’s happened to me but it’s not the first time it’s happened in the chopper,” co-pilot crewman Vasya Makhinko said. 

“I was in the front and made the radio call to the hospital to get them ready.   

“The paramedics in the back of the chopper did an incredible job and thankfully there were no complications. 

“When we arrived at the hospital the mother was in stable condition and baby seemed healthy,” Vasya, who has been a full-time co-pilot with the chopper for two and a half years. 

“Mum and baby did a fantastic job, we really just assisted the whole procedure, nature took its course,” Intensive care paramedic Ross Aitken said. 

“Space is always an issue in a helicopter, but we’ve got equipment specifically designed to be able to handle those sorts of emergencies in flight. 

“It was nice to have what was a really joyous occasion for our team compared to some of the tragedies we see on a daily basis,” he told RNZ