Wayne ‘Dude’ Ensbey, of Evans Head, in front of a Westpac helicopter that saved him from further injury when he was involved in a truck accident that left him with a broken neck.
Wayne ‘Dude’ Ensbey, of Evans Head, in front of a Westpac helicopter that saved him from further injury when he was involved in a truck accident that left him with a broken neck. Jay Cronan

Chopper rescues run in the family

WAYNE 'DUDE' ENSBEY reckons he wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter.

That's why he was volunteering at the service's open day on Saturday as part of Helicopter Awareness Week.

He was busy serving at the sausage sizzle, as thanks for the help he got from the service a few years ago.

His life hung in the balance back in 2006 after his cattle crate truck rolled on its side and skidded 10 metres as he slowed down to navigate a corner near the stockyards at Casino.

“I was trapped in the truck and the rescue guys cut me out, but I had fractured my T1 and C4 in my neck,” he said.

“Because of my neck injuries the ambulance blokes didn't want to transport me by road to Lismore Base Hospital, so the chopper was called in.

“If the Westpac Rescue Helicopter hadn't been there to airlift me, my injuries could have been made a lot worse by the 40-minute road trip to Lismore.”

Instead the trip to Lismore took 10 minutes by air. Mr Ensbey spent seven days in hospital but underwent extensive rehabilitation for six months, all the time wearing a neck brace before he was able to move freely again.

But it wasn't the first time the Evans Head family have called on the helicopter for help.

In 2003 their daughter had to be airlifted to Brisbane when her labour started early.

“The chopper has been there for our family twice, so we decided to give something back to them,” he said.

Along with his wife, workmates and friends, Mr Ensbey formed a group of volunteers - the North Coast Truck Drivers Inc - and organised a charity golf day at Casino Golf Course to fundraise.

They held their first golf day in 2006 and have raised $45,000 in what has become an annual event.

“We give half to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and the other half to the local rescue services,” he said.



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