As stated by Superintendent John Price, Canterbury District Commander:
A number of incidents in Christchurch this week have again demonstrated the invaluable support the Air Support Unit is providing in Canterbury District as the Eagle trial progresses.
At around 6.15pm last night, Police received a call from a concerned member of the public who had seen a car driving on the wrong side of the road over a considerable distance.
The car had last been seen heading north on Pigeon Bay Road – a very remote, windy road – and oncoming vehicles were having to swerve to avoid head-on collisions.
Eagle was notified of the job and began flying along Pigeon Bay Road looking for the car.
The car was quickly located parked at the beach at Pigeon Bay, and a woman was observed sitting on the beach.
Police staff on the ground had also been dispatched, but were around an hour away due to the remote location.
A decision was made to land the helicopter, speak to the woman, and prevent her from driving if she was impaired in any way.
Prior to the crew being able to land however, the woman returned to the car and drove away.
Eagle continued to monitor the car and the manner of driving made it clear that a serious crash would occur if the car was not stopped.
The crew located an appropriate place to safely land the helicopter and conduct a vehicle stop.
The car was stopped without incident.
When Police spoke to the woman, she appeared to be intoxicated.
There was also damage to the front of the vehicle, suggesting the car may have already been involved in a collision of some sort.
The woman, a 33-year-old, refused breath and blood tests and has been summoned to appear in court next month.
I would like to extend my thanks to the member of the public who initially called us to report the woman’s manner of driving.
That call enabled us to quickly locate the relevant vehicle and prevent harm to other road users.
Earlier in the day, the Eagle crew were alerted to a man who had suffered an apparent heart attack outside Christchurch Park on Westminster Street.
Eagle was able to land in the park, set up the defibrillator that they carry on board at all times, and monitor the man’s condition until Ambulance staff arrived.
The man was transported to hospital by Ambulance staff, reportedly in a serious condition.
On Monday this week, Eagle assisted with a water rescue in Lyttelton Harbour, and helped to locate a person who had threatened to self-harm.