CRITICAL CALL: The Westpac Rescue Helicopter in a previous mission in the Northern Rivers.
CRITICAL CALL: The Westpac Rescue Helicopter in a previous mission in the Northern Rivers. Marc Stapelberg

'Stop flying your drone near the helicopter'

UPDATE Monday 6.00: ON FRIDAY, police issued an urgent warning to the public.

As Lismore Base Hospital and rescue helicopter crews  worked quickly to prepare a sick child for an emergency flight to Brisbane, a member of the public took the opportunity to take a close up look at the helicopter with their drone.

Police issued the urgent Facebook request as they searched the area for the drone pilot.

Fortunately the drone moved away from the area before the helicopter was due to depart and the child's care was unaffected.

The incident was the second of its kind in a week and is causing concern for police and the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Service.

Senior Constable David Henderson said: "Drones are legal but it is a serious offence to fly them outside the restricted area, and this is exactly why".

Due to the danger of collision, the helicopter would not have been able to take off from the Lismore Base Hospital if the drone remained in the area.

 

 

Update Saturday 9.30am: THE rescue helicopter mission affected by a drone being flown near Lismore Base Hospital yesterday evening was the second incident of its kind in Lismore in a week.

A spokesperson for the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service, which services NSW missions, confirmed there was a similar incident on Thursday at Lismore Base Hospital which affected one of their aircraft.

"Something similar happened two days ago," the spokesperson said.

Although it's impossible to know if the same drone affected both missions, the spokesperson said the issue has been reported to NSW Police.

"It's possibly someone who lives in the area is flying the drone, but they need to understand there are limits to what they can do with a drone and it's illegal to fly it near a hospital."

The spokesperson also confirmed the aircraft involved in yesterday's incident was not from the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service, but a helicopter from the Rescue Queensland Helicopter Service which had flown from Brisbane to Lismore to urgently transport an infant to Queensland.

"Yesterday, the drone was detected after the QLD aircraft had landed and while the medical team was inside (Lismore Base) Hospital," the spokesperson said.

By the time the child was secured and taken to the aircraft, NSW Police had been alerted and the drone had disappeared so the mission wasn't delayed from the doctor's point of view, according to the source.

Original story: RICHMOND Police District made a dramatic call this evening via social media for a person flying a drone in Lismore to take the object away, as a dramatic transfer of a sick child was delayed due to safety concerns.

A post on Facebook by Richmond Police District posted at approximately 6.30pm explained the Rescue Queensland Helicopter Service was about to attempt a trip from Lismore Base Hospital.

The mission was to transport a sick child urgently to Brisbane.

"Unfortunately, someone IS FLYING A DRONE near the helicopter and it can't take off," the post read.

"If this is you STOP FLYING YOUR DRONE NEAR THE HELICOPTER."

"If you know who is doing this, tell them TO STOP NOW."

"Police are on the way to the area and will take a dim view of anyone foolish enough to fly a drone near a helicopter."

Senior Constable David Henderson confirmed police saw the drone but were unable to locate the person flying it.

"As the drone was removed from the area, the helicopter was able to take off with a very sick child that needed urgent transfer to Brisbane," he said

"Drones are legal but it is a serious offence to fly them outside the restricted area, and this is exactly why.

"We are still looking for the person who did this, and if anyone has seen them or have any information about it, please contact Lismore Police on 66 260 599."



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