Shortly after the devastating earthquake on January 12, Eurocopter decided to participate in the worldwide support of the people of Haiti. Partnering with the Dominican Republic air force, which immediately agreed to provide pilots, Eurocopter donated the services of two helicopters to assist rescue and recovery efforts.
During a four-week period, Eurocopter made available to the Dominican air force and to the nongovernmental organization (NGO) International Medical one AS350B AStar and one AS355F2 TwinStar through Eurocopter’s Dominican customer Aviajet.
“Helicopters have been designed with the vision of bringing a new way to travel and connect places and people,” said Lutz Bertling, president and CEO of Eurocopter. “But here, the helicopter becomes a unique tool, a noble tool being used to save lives.”
Yesterday at the Eurocopter exhibit, Col. Floreal Suarez, chief of the Dominican Republic air force, presented an award to Eurocopter in appreciation of its efforts. In receiving the plaque, Bertling said, “I’m accepting the award in particular for Aviajet, the Dominican Republic air force and our people who never hesitated one second to respond to this.”
Coordinating efforts with the Dominican Republic air force and the NGOs on site, Eurocopter was able to bring 157 injured people, medical staff and decision makers in and out of Haiti. In addition, the borrowed helicopters carried more than five tons of supplies, including food, water and medical equipment. All in all, the two helicopters completed 44 back-and-forth trips.
“As Eurocopter president and CEO, I am proud of what we did, but it was our duty,” said Bertling. “Showing the way is a Eurocopter belief. As a leader in the helicopter world, we had to set the example. I do hope we did so, with you, and thanks to you.”