Brand new rescue chopper lands at the SLSQ Gold Coast hangar

The Gold Coast’s Surf Life Saving Queensland hangar has welcomed a brand new chopper today.

‘Lifesaver 46’, the latest Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter was unveiled at the Carrara base today, replacing a B0105 aircraft.

That chopper’s been servicing the South East Queensland region for almost a decade.


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The new addition is just in time for the busy school holiday period, with plenty of holiday-makers flocking to our beaches.

Surf Life Saving Queensland CEO Dave Whimpey said unveiling the new aircraft was a proud moment for the organisation.

“In December 2021 our Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service will celebrate keeping beachgoers safe for 45 years,” he said.

“Our pilots and volunteer crew have saved the lives of more than 850 people and performed in excess of 10,000 missions.

“It is wonderful to be here today to see the service expand its capabilities.”

Lifesaver 46 is an EC135P2+, a state-of-the-art aircraft built to contemporary engineering and safety standards with all-weather capability (IFR), Autopilot and a Night Vision Goggle (NVG) compatible cockpit.

It joins SLSQ’s existing Lifesaver 45, also an EC135, at the Carrara hangar.

SLSQ spent two years looking for new aircraft, speaking to many companies across the world and considering more than 30 different aircraft.

Chief Pilot Paul Gibson said the upgrade of aircraft is important for the future of the service.

“The addition of a second EC135 allows the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service WLRHS economies of scale by having a common fleet type,” he said.

“This permeates logistics, maintenance and spare parts but most importantly, simplifies the training effort in keeping pilots and crew proficient in a single aircraft type.

“We look forward to surveilling South East Queensland beaches over the school holidays.”

The Westpac Service has conducted 88 missions, patrolled more than 13,000 beaches and spotted 23,000 rips over the last year alone.