Rescue helicopter callout leads to donation

After the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter came to a colleague's aid, Colin Curtain decided something give back.

Curtain, a line mechanic team leader at infrastructure services company Delta, won $5000 to donate to a local charity in a monthly workplace competition that incentivises employees reporting hazards and "close calls".

Curtain said he chose the rescue helicopter trust because it served the whole upper South Island community.

When Curtain's colleague, 26-year-old linesman Josh Clarke, fell 10 metres from a pole during maintenance work at Roding Dam in Aniseed Valley six months ago, the rescue helicopter crew came to his aid.

Linesman and photographer Evan Barnes said Clarke broke two vertebrae and had recently returned to light duties.

The helicopter trust's general manager, Paula Muddle, said donations like Curtain's were essential to the service's survival. The rescue helicopter had two pilots and four crew, two of whom are volunteers.

It cost about $4000 per callout, amounting to $1.2 million. The government paid 40 per cent of its running costs.

Most callouts were related to outdoor pursuits gone awry in the region's national parks.

Callouts had increased by 30 per cent over the past year, Muddle said.

"Donations like this go some way to filling the [funding] void," she said. "We never know where our next dollar is coming from."

The Nelson Mail