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CareFlight's new aircraft named after Darwin

PRAISING THE NEW AIRCRAFT: Richard Fejo who performed the Welcome to Country, Pauline Babar, Larrakia Elders Committee Member, Chairman of the CareFlight Board of Directors, Andrew Refshauge, Darwin Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis and NT Minister for Health Natasha Fyles.
PRAISING THE NEW AIRCRAFT: Richard Fejo who performed the Welcome to Country, Pauline Babar, Larrakia Elders Committee Member, Chairman of the CareFlight Board of Directors, Andrew Refshauge, Darwin Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis and NT Minister for Health Natasha Fyles. Contributed

TOP End remote health services have received a boost with the arrival this week of CareFlight's newest King Air turbo-prop aircraft into the aeromedical retrieval service's Top End fleet.

The new aircraft was officially welcomed at a naming ceremony at CareFlight on Monday where Larrakia Nation representatives and the Lord Mayor of Darwin joined the celebrations.

CareFlight northern operations general manager Craig Gibbons said Air Ambulance CareFlight 29 will now be known as City of Darwin - Garramilla.

He said the aircraft would increase the service's capacity and make CareFlight stronger for all Territorians.

"Traditionally aircraft are named after significant people, but with the input of Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis, we chose City of Darwin - Garramilla, a name that honours our entire community,” Mr Gibbons said.

"Garramilla - the Larrakia name for the porcellanite white rock that underlies all of Darwin - illustrates and highlights the close ties CareFlight has with the indigenous people across the region.”

Darwin Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis said he was proud to carry out CareFlight 29's official naming ceremony.

"In December 2011 - when I was the NT Minister for Health - I proudly opened the first stage of the CareFlight Operations Centre here in Darwin,” Mr Vatskalis said.

"Today, as the Lord Mayor of Darwin, I proudly got to unveil the new name of CareFlight's new fixed wing aircraft, named City of Darwin - Garramilla.”

CareFlight now boasts 20 fixed wing pilots across its Top End fleet at bases in Darwin and Nhulunbuy.

In 2017 the service clocked up 4642 fixed wing flying hours at an average of about 387 a month.

Including its helicopter services, aeromedical crews flew more than one million kilometres in 2017 to retrieve more than 3400 patients, from locations as far away as Kalumburu and Derby in Western Australia.

"For those in need, CareFlight plays a crucial role when it comes to looking after our community and all Territorians, and the new aircraft will give CareFlight an even greater ability to help people in need,” Mr Vatskalis said.

CareFlight 29 was officially named at the Top End Medical Retrieval Hangar at Darwin Airport by Larrakia elders committee member Pauline Babar, the NT Minister for Health Natasha Fyles, Darwin Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis and CareFlight board of directors chairman Andrew Refshauge.

Topics:  careflight careflight rescue darwin northern territory