Paramedics’ hoisting and rescue skills tested

2015-10-28 06:00

IN light of National Trauma Day on Friday, 16 October - a joint training exercise took place between the Air Force 15 Squadron and Netcare 911.

Using the Augusta helicopter, piloted by Daniel and the engineer Wade, Konrad Jones, the Netcare rescue officer and Amanzimtoti’s Chris Botha set off to different locations to put their skills to the test.

Starting at Addington beachfront on Thursday morning, the Air Force staff and Netcare personnel met with the police search and rescue unit, who closed the landing zone and had a “patient” waiting with a stokes basket.

"We landed and Konrad and I disembarked to start setting up a rescue stretcher with a police member as the patient. Once the patient was hoisted up with Konrad hanging at the side of the stretcher, they flew a circuit and landed back at the helipad in front of Addington," said Netcare 911 media spokesman, Chris Botha.

"We then flew and did an emergency landing at Netcare St Augustine's Hospital, to simulate bringing in a patient. In an interesting twist, we landed on top of the Nkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital and paramedics were dropped on the roof. “The helicopter came in, simulating that they could not land but needed to pick up the medics, and we were hoisted up into the hovering helicopter.

"After taking off, we did a confined rescue where the patient was 250 feet below the N3, adjacent to a waterfall. We were hoisted down and back up into the helicopter. Afterwards, we flew back to Amanzimtoti and the pilot came in for a confined space landing along Ross Street, in front of Amtoti flats, with the residents in awe at the impressive skill of the pilot and his engineer," said Botha.

On Friday morning, the joint team set off again and did additional hoisting at the Netcare Umhlanga Hospital for World Trauma Day.
"There we landed and after the helicopter took off, we hoisted the nursing manager, with the assistance of Jones, into the helicopter with the trauma unit staff and Netcare 911 standing ready. After flying a circuit, they landed and dropped them off again."

The entire two-day training session focused on honing the hoisting and rescue skills of the paramedics, while the air force used the opportunity for flight training. To simulate the helicopter picking up medics without landing, Jones and Botha were once again hoisted up into the helicopter before the chopper headed back to the air force base. - Supplied.

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