The Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service is a national community service that has performed over 70,000 rescue mission since inception in 1973. It’s the oldest civilian search and rescue helicopter service in Australia, covering 84% of the population in the summer months.
Air Rescue is an observational documentary series following the high-stakes work of the rescue crews of The Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service. Now in its third season, Air Rescue shares the stories of the pilots, aircrews, doctors, paramedics and in this series, police – and through them we’re drawn into the lives of Australians in crisis. This is classic observational storytelling imbued with a cinematic style - the real-life narrative of what happens when humanity collides with the beautiful, but harsh, Australian landscape.
In series 3, Air Rescue still centres around the Newcastle Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service base, however, thanks to the national service, we are able to join other crews in Lismore, Moruya, and for the first time, Hobart.
Unlike the rest of the service, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Tasmania features police and paramedics on board. This makes the Tasmanian service unique, but also provides one of the most amazing stories ever captured on the series.
We tell stories through the eyes of a core cast of rescuers as they enter the lives of ordinary Australians in need: walkers injured in dense bush, people sick at sea, shark attack victims, motorbike riders, holidaymakers and people at home – all in the wrong place at the wrong time needing emergency help.
We reveal the thoughts, emotions and motivations of the men and women behind the uniforms – what’s really at stake? What are the time-critical decisions that need to be made? And, how do they cope with the emotion and trauma? It’s up to the rescue crews to save lives, help the wounded, find the lost and provide unflinching trust and support.
The point of difference of this series within the observational genre is that each rescue is imbued with natural adversaries: the landscape and environment, the weather, personal jeopardy and time-critical stakes, set against the daily work of the rescue crews. Emergency missions take the viewer from the edge of their seat at home to bush canopy, from ocean waves to a critical highway disaster, from a remote farm in country NSW to the jagged cliffs of Tassie – landscapes and situations that are iconically Australian. This is real-life rescue drama about us.