Lady smiling at camera

Keeping the Snowy Hydro rescue helicopter in the air

If you live in or travel across Canberra or south-eastern NSW, it’s comforting to know the Snowy Hydro SouthCare rescue helicopter is there saving lives 24/7 every day of the year.

Since 1998, it’s completed over 6,200 rescue missions.

Their work is so important that in November 2011, the landing of Air Force One carrying President Obama at Canberra Airport was delayed for a Snowy Hydro SouthCare emergency medivac flight.

With each mission needing 4 crew members on board – a pilot, aircrew, intensive care paramedic and doctor – keeping this vital service airborne doesn’t come cheap. And it wouldn’t be possible without generous community support.

Faye Argento, a Department of Human Services staff member from Canberra, began volunteering for Snowy Hydro SouthCare after it helped save her sister’s life.

“Most people know the rescue helicopter transports patients directly from the scene of accidents –including car, farm and recreational accidents – to hospital and further care,” Faye said.

“But it also transfers patients who need urgent specialised medical services from regional areas to major hospitals.

“In 2010, my sister in Batemans Bay experienced severe breathing difficulties during one of my visits. The Snowy Hydro SouthCare helicopter flew her to Canberra Hospital where she spent 5 days in intensive care before transferring to a ward.

“Without Snowy Hydro SouthCare’s help, she may not be with us today. It was an emotional time and a big wake-up call for the whole family.”

Faye regularly helps Snowy Hydro SouthCare raise much needed funds through raffles, sausage sizzles and other events, including the Base Open Day which was held in March.

“One of the highlights of volunteering at the Base Open Day was meeting people who told me their stories of how they’ve benefitted from the rescue services,” she said.

“It’s always a great family day out. The Snowy Hydro SouthCare Bell 412 rescue helicopter, which completes the life-saving rescue missions, was on display for people to check out, as well as lots of other fun activities like face painting and other emergency vehicle displays.

“This year we had a record crowd of around 8,000 people which was incredible. We raised almost $30,000 for Snowy Hydro SouthCare and all those funds will go towards keeping the helicopter in the air and saving lives.”