Retiring rescue helicopter paramedic Doug Flett recalls life on the frontline

The call came at midnight. An emergency beacon had been activated. That was all intensive care paramedic Doug Flett, pilot Graeme Gale, co-pilot Mike Reed and Search And Rescue’s Brian Benn knew as their helicopter ascended into the darkness at Taieri Airfield. Who, why, where – they did not have a clue. “We picked up the beacon not long after lifting off and tracked it heading north towards the coast,” Flett recalls of that May, 2003, night. Back then, the National Rescue Co-ordination Centre was a Monday to Friday, daytime operation. After-hours jobs were run from the on-duty staffer’s home using a briefcase and a cellphone. On this occasion, things did not go well. >click to read< 08:59

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