Observational documentary Air Rescue returns to Australian television for a fifth series on Tuesday, 5 December at 8pm (AEDT) on Channel 7.
From the walking trails of Tasmania’s Mount Muller to the surf breaks at Burleigh Heads in Queensland, the brand new season captures the heroic missions of the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service (WLRHS) as they risk their lives to help save everyday Australians in trouble.
Westpac, in partnership with MBA and Fredbird Entertainment, are proud to showcase the front- line operations from WLRHS bases all across Australia. This season, audiences will meet Mark Anning and his two young boys who find their boat capsized on a recent fishing trip. After spending two hours in the water, the rescue helicoper arrives. While being flown to safety the youngest of the boys, Henry (6), begins to dip in and out of consiousness and requires the medical attention of the crew.
The series also features ‘Where are they now stories‘ of rescuees from previous seasons, including young Lilly who fell off her kids quad bike when she was two years old after hitting a ditch on a remote country property. The Westpac crew were called to the incident as the sun was setting, they were forced to fly through a valley riddled with power lines, landing in darkness in a nearby paddock. It has been three years since the accident and Lilly still remembers her nightmare adventure, each time she sees a helicopter fly overhead she proudly proclaims, “There goes my chopper Dad!”
Martine Jager, chief marketing officer at Westpac Group said the Air Rescue series shines a light on the extraordinary efforts of Australia’s oldest civilian search and rescue service, which has performed more than 80,000 missions over the past four decades.
“From its humble beginnings in 1973 with just one helicopter operating in Sydney, the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service today covers 84% of the Australian population during the summer months with a national operation made up of 17 helicopters, two boats and 13 bases,” Jager said.
“Each year, the Service helps to save thousands of people – with no one ever having to pay to be rescued – and we are incredibly proud to be able to support their remarkable work. Through this series and a number of other initiatives, including the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Schools Program and local fundraising efforts, we hope to raise awareness of the fundamental emergency support which the Service provides, and help more Australians to understand how they can stay safe this summer,” Jager said.
Each episode features a summer safety awareness message as part of Westpac’s initiative to keep Australian’s safe for summer and potentially save lives. Advice about what equipment to take on a hike, what to look out for when board riding, and how to prepare for a storm; the WLRHS crew are on the ground 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to watch out from above and keep everyday Aussies in need safe from harm.
Documentary teams are embedded with WLRHS crews across the country to capture every heart stopping moment using the latest cinematic cameras and film techniques. GoPro and drone footage capture the speed, elevation and terrain of each rescue from a powerful and engaging perspective.
Gemma Hunter, global executive director and head of MBA said, “MBA is extremely proud of our long and strong partnership with Westpac and the Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service. Over the past five years Air Rescue has developed from a primetime TV series in Australia to a fully multi-screen, multi format content series across TV and digital and social. All stories are told for the platform to ensure the audience has the best experience possible with these compelling and moving moments in the life of Australian’s in peril.
“The development of this successful brand platform is reflected in the fact it’s now broadcast in over 100 markets globally, making it one of the most successful brand funded content series of all time. We look forward to continuing to build on this success with Westpac for many years to come,” Ms Hunter said.
This year, Air Rescue was regionally recognised at the annual Spikes Asia Festival of Creativity by winning a Silver Award in the media category for best use of brand or product integration into a program or platform. Since launching in 2013, it has also been awarded an array of accolades from international, regional and local bodies including a Silver Pencil at The One Show, being Highly Commended at the 2013 Festival of Media Asia Awards, a finalist in the 2014 Spikes Asia, a Silver award winner at the 2014 BEfest Awards and winner of Australian Banking & Finance Magazine’s Campaign of the Year.