Bushfires in Victoria: Black Saturday

The 2009 Victorian Bushfires brought devastation and destruction on a scale never before experienced in modern Australia. The “Black Saturday” firestorm claimed a harrowing 173 lives, destroyed over 1,800 homes and burned more than 400,000 hectares of regional Victoria’s landscape.

 Hernan Cartier
Cliquez pour agrandir

Cliquez pour agrandir

The impact of Black Saturday surpassed both the 1983 Ash Wednesday and 1939 Black Friday fires. Local families and communities will feel the tragic effects of the fires long after their homes, schools and workplaces are rebuilt.
The response effort to contain and control a natural disaster the size and scale of Black Saturday requires a number of roles to be undertaken.
Eurocopter products played an active part in responding to the crisis. The flexibility of Eurocopter’s helicopters saw them engaged in the front line battle to fight the fires from the air, operate rescue missions airlifting residents in the fires’ paths and providing media footage that was beamed across the country and around the world.
Moorabbin, Victoria based Microflite exclusively flies Eurocopter helicopters. With their experienced pilots, central location and mix of cutting edge machinery, Microflite were well positioned to assist during the natural disaster.
Jonathan Booth, Managing Director Microflite is understandably proud of the role his team of pilots and helicopters took during the horrific event: “Microflite committed five helicopters to the response and containment effort. For all the Microflite pilots involved, the Black Saturday memories will remain with them forever. Black Saturday was a terrifying experience for many Victorians. However, out of the tragedy and turmoil came stories of great courage and bravery. We met many unique Australians during the response.
In particular, Microflite relocated a mother and her baby who survived the fire in Narbethong. The overwhelming look of relief on the mother’s face as she realized they were both safe will forever be etched in our minds. At an operational level, Microflite’s support to Australia’s emergency teams placed Eurocopter’s products at the frontline to the bushfire response. Our EC120 Firebird 316 provided aerial support to one of the Victorian Government’s firebombing helicopters. A couple of our choppers also supported media in getting footage and images out from the disaster area, helping to tell the story and raise awareness around the world. We sincerely hope this contributed towards the unprecedented groundswell of public donations immediately following Black Saturday.”
Education and preparation can go a long way towards minimizing the impact of bushfires in Australia’s dry landscape. However, the sheer size and magnitude of Black Saturday had never before been encountered. During times of natural disaster, Australian Aerospace and Eurocopter remain ready to actively work with emergency response teams to fight the threat, relocate survivors and restore a sense of normality into the lives of those affected.


The Support of Australian Aerospace

In the wake of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires, Australian Aerospace continued its relationship with local charity the Day of Difference Foundation, donating money towards the charity’s purchase of equipment to treat burn patients in Victorian hospitals. As news of the bushfires reached Australian Aerospace, the organization banded together to provide meaningful relief and support on behalf of the company’s Australian and New Zealand staff.