Pilot Mitch Vernon and air crewman Garth Shaidero with the two rescue helicopters. One is a new back-up aircraft at RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue in Rockhampton. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin
Pilot Mitch Vernon and air crewman Garth Shaidero with the two rescue helicopters. One is a new back-up aircraft at RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue in Rockhampton. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin Sharyn O'Neill ROK280813sheli1

Second helicopter provides added flexibility to service

AFTER 17 years the RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service finally has what it has always dreamt of - a second helicopter.

It's the first time the service has a dedicated back-up aircraft.

The American Bell 412EP chopper is a twin-engine machine which can be configured to have two stretchers with three seated passengers, or one stretcher with five seated - the current chopper only allows for one stretcher.

PR and community co-ordinator Kirsty Hansen said the community should feel safer with two choppers available.

"In times of natural disaster we can have two crews and two choppers up in the air at once," she said.

"The advanced technology brings us up to speed a bit more."

The lease of the two helicopters costs several million dollars she said, and they are sharing the second chopper with another rescue service.

CHRS has seen their tasks rising 27% in 2012/13 compared to the previous year.

CHRS' annual appeal is next month.

Donate at chrs.org.au.