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15 years in the skies with RAC Rescue
Friday 17 August 2018 – 4:00 PM

​For 15 years the State Government managed RAC Rescue helicopter service has been a beacon of hope for many Western Australian’s experiencing a life threatening emergency.

The milestone was celebrated recently with an event to acknowledge everyone who has had a hand in helping keep this critical service in the air.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Assistant Commissioner Gary Gifford ESM said the helicopters, based in Perth and Bunbury, provide a vital service that increases patients’ chance of survival so they can return home to their loved ones.

The service is one of a kind in WA and responds to injured or ill people who have been involved in road crashes, accidents, and search and rescue operations across both metropolitan and regional areas. With a St John Ambulance critical care paramedic on board along with experienced CHC Helicopter pilots and crewmen, the service has meant the difference between life and death for many.

“Since the inaugural flight in August 2003, the two RAC Rescue helicopters have completed more than 6,000 missions and have flown more than 1.2 million kilometres,” Assistant Commissioner Gifford said.

“The service significantly reduces the time a patient has access to critical care meaning higher survival rates, reduced hospitalisation periods, shorter rehabilitation times, and better patient and community outcomes.

“I commend everyone who has played their part in ensuring this service can benefit the WA community including RAC who have proudly supported the service since inception.”

Laretta Roney is thankful for the role the RAC Rescue helicopter played in saving her life in 2014 after she was involved in a car crash in Elgin.

"When the vehicle stopped spinning my ex-partner looked over to see if I was alright and I wasn't sitting in my seat and he could see me unconscious," Laretta said.

"Another vehicle arrived and he rang 000 and said look we're going to need the helicopter, we're going to need ambulances. He said it's not good.

"They're the angels in the sky they truly are and I'm very, very thankful. Very thankful."

The RAC Rescue helicopters are funded by the State Government with an annual investment of $16.8 million.

The Bunbury helicopter is funded by the Royalties for Regions program, and both helicopters are managed by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services and have been sponsored by the RAC since the service began.​