A State Government investment in new rescue helicopters will greatly extend the range of the service operating out of Bunbury. Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson said the $26.7 million upgrade of the emergency rescue helicopter service, in partnership with the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, would be finalised by late next year. The Bunbury choppers’ range would extend to 350km from home base, about 75 per cent further than at present. “In the direst times of need, the Emergency Rescue Helicopter Service has saved thousands of Western Australian lives and supported some of the most complex emergency operations across our wide and rugged State,” Mr Dawson said. “With the service approaching 20 years of operations, we’re proud to deliver three new state-of-the-art helicopters that will expand the current range and feature some of the most advanced technology available. “This will provide an even greater service for WA and ensures our State has a world-class aeromedical rescue service for the next 10 years.” DFES Commissioner Darren Klemm said the service could be airborne within 15 minutes and included night vision and radar technology to handle all conditions.