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  • #31
    Bristow Receives First SAR 92

    Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. and Bristow Group Inc. today announced the acceptance of an S-92 helicopter by Bristow Helicopters Ltd. The helicopter, configured for search and rescue service, was accepted during a ceremony at the Sikorsky facility in Coatesville, Pennsylvania.

    In March 2013, Bristow Helicopters Ltd. was awarded the contract to provide search and rescue helicopter service in the United Kingdom. The contract begins in April 2015 and runs until 2026. Bristow Helicopters Ltd.'s UK SAR (search and rescue) fleet of 22 aircraft will include 11 Sikorsky S-92 helicopters that are fitted with state-of-the-art technology.

    Under the UK SAR contract, Bristow will operate from 10 bases across the UK, strategically located near areas of high SAR incident rates. These include Inverness, Manston, Prestwick, Caernarfon, Humberside, Newquay, St Athan, Lee-on-Solent, Sumburgh and Stornoway.

    Bristow have received their first dedicated SAR S-92 at a handing-over ceremony at Sikorsky's facility in Coatesville, Pennsylvania

    "We are very excited to receive the first aircraft from Sikorsky for our UK search and rescue fleet," said Jonathan Baliff, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bristow Group Inc. "With more than 60 S-92 helicopters already in our inventory, we have come to know and appreciate the aircraft's mission capabilities."

    "At Sikorsky, we stand behind our mission statement: 'We pioneer flight solutions that bring people home everywhere…every time,'" said Carey Bond, President, Sikorsky Commercial Systems & Services. "Bristow has a long history of search and rescue, and we are proud to support their efforts in the United Kingdom to bring people home. Sikorsky would also like to thank the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Bristow as the operator for their choice of the S-92 helicopter for this very critical mission."

    Sikorsky and Bristow have done business for more than 40 years. The Bristow fleet currently features more than 160 Sikorsky aircraft of various types.

    Bristow Helicopters Ltd. has a long history of providing SAR services in the UK, dating back to 1971, when Whirlwind helicopters were replaced by Bristow S-55 helicopters at RAF Manston, in Kent, and continuing with the operation of S-61 helicopters working at four SAR bases, Stornoway, Sumburgh, Lee-on-Solent and Portland, until 2007. In 2012 the company was awarded the U.K. Gap SAR contract for Northern Scotland and, working in partnership with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, currently operates four SAR helicopters from Sumburgh and Stornoway.

    In total Bristow Helicopters Ltd. has flown more than 44,000 SAR operational hours in the UK and conducted over 15,000 SAR missions, during which more than 7,000 people have been rescued by the company's crews and helicopters.

    Bristow has led the industry in introducing new aircraft types and technology to the civil market. The SAR equipment it has developed has become the industry standard, resulting in Bristow Helicopters Ltd. being recognized with the Queen's Award for Innovation for its technical developments.

    This month also marks the 10-year anniversary of the initial delivery of the S-92 helicopter. The S-92 helicopter meets or exceeds oil and gas industry requirements. These helicopters perform search and rescue missions, head of state missions, as well as a variety of transportation missions for offshore oil and gas crews, utility and airline passengers. The U.S. Navy recently selected Sikorsky to build a fleet of Marine One helicopters, based on the FAA-certified S-92 aircraft, to transport the Office of the President beginning late in 2020. The S-92 fleet has accumulated more than 700,000 flight hours including 21,000 in SAR operations.​


    • #32
      Belgian Soldiers Require Rescue

      Three Belgian soldiers have been airlifted to safety from a military excercise on a remote hill on a Scottish island.

      The Belgian Army soldiers needed medical assistance after gruelling military operations in a rugged, remote hill in the Western Isles on Sunday morning.

      They were part of NATO manoeuvres involving around 100 Belgian troops as well as British servicemen.

      One man could not walk due to a dislocated ankle and another two were suffering from exhaustion, said a Stornoway Coastguard spokesperson.

      ​Three Belgian soldiers required rescue courtesy of Stornoway's Coastguard helicopter

      They needed medical assistance during an exercise, believed to have been taking place overnight, through high heather and wet bog on the wild moorland and hills at Uisinish, on the east side of South Uist.

      Rough terrain meant army vehicles could not get to the area which is inaccessible by road. There is also a lack of walking tracks to the isolated location.

      Coastguards despatched the Stornoway rescue helicopter to the scene after the alarm was raised at 9.30am on Sunday.

      They were airlifted to Stornoway airport where the three casualties were transferred to ambulance and driven to the accident and emergency department at the Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway.

      The military exercises got underway on Thursday and will run until Wednesday.

      Troops are involved with live-firing weapons at the South Uist missile range while a number of independent land exercises are planned over North Uist and South Uist.


      • #33
        USCG Rescue Depoe Bay, Oregon

        A US Coast Guard crew rescued five people Saturday after they got stuck on the rocks at Fogarty Creek State Park near Depoe Bay and dramatic video showed bystanders pulling three others from the ocean.

        The Coast Guard dispatched one of its helicopters based in Newport and was at the scene within minutes, according to Depoe Bay Fire and Rescue.

        A total of eight people were stuck on the rocks. Three of them had jumped into the ocean in an attempt to swim to shore. Video showed a line of three people with their arms linked, forming a chain, trying to reach someone in the water.

        One of the people in trouble was a young girl. The KATU viewer, Raymond Felle, who shot the video told KATU she was unconscious at the time.

        "She would have died," Felle said. "She would have surely died had (they) not gone out there. Even when they were in a group carrying her away, the waves came in again and swept them off their feet."

        One by one, the Coast Guard’s Dauphin helicopter plucked the five people from the rock and ferried them to the beach.

        According to Depoe Bay firefighters, one person was taken to the hospital for treatment.​


        • #34
          Nepalese Army Support Himalayan Rescues

          The Nepalese Army have been providing air support in the aftermath of a severe snow storm which has hit the Himalayas.

          Unseasonal snowstorms and avalanches in the Nepalese Himalayas have killed at least 20 people and left over 100 missing.

          The severe weather was triggered by the tail end of Cyclone Hudhud, which made landfall in India on Sunday.

          The blizzards hit a large group of trekkers and their guides on the Annapurna Circuit in central Nepal.

          An injured survivor is assisted by Army personnel into a Nepalese Army AS350 in Manang District

          Police have recovered a number of bodies, but fear more people could be trapped.

          The foreigners who perished were from Israel, Poland, Canada, India and Vietnam.

          Authorities are still trying to make contact with at least 100 other hikers who were thought to be in the area.

          The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said officials at the Australian embassy in Kathmandu were in contact with Nepalese authorities, who have advised that there were no reports of any Australians affected.

          Thousands of trekkers visit the region at this time of year when weather conditions are usually favourable for hiking trips.
          "There has been heavy snowfall in the area, up to three feet (91 centimetres)," police official Ganesh Rai said.

          Mustang governor Baburam Bhandari said 14 people were rescued after the weather cleared.

          "We have rescued five German, five Polish and four Israeli trekkers who were trapped in the snowfall early on Wednesday," Mr Bhandari said.

          "The phone network is not very good so we have not been able to get in touch with the missing, but we hope to find them later today."

          Four people killed in Manang

          Separately, in the neighbouring district of Manang, four Canadian hikers and an Indian national were killed in an avalanche, the district's most senior bureaucrat, Devendra Lamichhane, told Reuters.

          "The pilot of a rescue helicopter spotted the bodies in snow," Mr Lamichhane said.

          "But it is not possible to retrieve their bodies because it is heavily snowing in the area now."

          Three yak herders were killed after being swept away by a separate avalanche at Nar village in Manang, officials said.

          Thousands of trekkers visit the Annapurna region every October, when weather conditions are deemed favourable for hiking trips.

          Mr Rai said 168 tourists had registered to trek in Mustang along the Annapurna circuit this week.

          Some hikers are still believed to be out of contact because the bad weather disrupted communications, officials said.

          Nepal's climbing industry is still recovering from the aftershocks of an ice avalanche that struck the lower reaches of Mount Everest in April, killing 16 sherpa guides in the worst disaster in the history of the world's highest peak.


          • #35
            Additional Images from the Himalayan Rescue

            This tragedy has been described as the worst trekking and climbing disaster Nepal has ever seen.


            Nepali Air Force AS350

            Nepali Air Force AS350

            Nepali Air Force Mi-17-1V

            Numerous Nepal-based civilian helicopters have also responded to the disaster


            • #36
              US Coast Guard Dauphin Gets Stuck After Rescue Mission

              The United States Coast Guard helicopter which responded to the rescue of Sebastian Johnson, a 4-year-old boy who tumbled more than 200 feet down a cliff at Bodega Head in northern California , has became stuck after the incident.

              The US Coast Guard Dauphin which became stuck in uneven ground following the rescue of a 4 year old boy

              Heavy fog following the rescue forced the helicopter to land on the cliff top where the undercarriage inadvertently became stuck in uneven ground preventing the helicopter from taking-off.

              The Coast Guard are now working to free the helicopter.


              • #37
                Stuck Coast Guard Dauphin Safely Back at Base

                A Coast Guard helicopter left on Bodega Head after it landed and became stuck during the rescue of a 4-year-old boy earlier this week was back at its San Francisco base Friday.

                The crew of the bright-orange MH-65D Dolphin had flown to Bodega Bay on Monday to aid in the rescue of Sebastion Johnson, who tumbled down a cliff during a visit with his family.

                The helicopter crew used its landing light to illuminate the area for rescuers on the ground who were using ropes to rappel down to the child and bring him to higher ground, said Coast Guard Lt. Commander John Bettencourt, operations officer at Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco.

                A crew from the San Francisco Coast Guard station keeps watch over a rescue helicopter stuck and unable to launch from where it landed on Monday night during a rescue of a 4 year-old boy who fell from the cliffs on Bodega Head​

                The helicopter pilot used night-vision technology to locate a level surface to land within Sonoma Coast State Park in case the boy required air transport. However, once on the ground the crew realized they were on a slope that might make a takeoff too dangerous, Bettencourt said.

                Night-vision technology makes it “hard to assess a slope,” Bettencourt said.

                Helicopters generate lift by changing the pitch of their rotors. The function works best on level ground and the MH-65D can take off on a slope of up to 10 degrees, Bettencourt said. On any slope greater, the craft could topple over during take off.

                “There is a possibility of a rollover if you try,” Bettencourt said.

                The slope where the Coast Guard copter landed Monday was possibly steep enough to put the crew at risk of rolling the helicopter, the lieutenant said. They notified the local emergency responders that they would not be able to fly the boy to a hospital and then shut down the craft to await daylight to make a better determination, Bettencourt said.

                “It was a smart call to not try to take off,” Bettencourt said.

                At daybreak, they decided the slope was too risky and that the craft had to be moved to more level ground.

                A maintenance crew was called to the area and arrived Wednesday. With supervision from the parks department, the crew used hand tools to free the wheels from the soft earth and tow the aircraft about 30 yards to more level ground, the lieutenant said.

                “I’ve never seen anything like it,” Bettencourt said. “They had tie lines and backed it down and pulled it into place.”

                The crew took off at about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday for the Coast Guard air station at San Francisco International Airport.


                • #38
                  A Visit to Westpac's Lifesaver Rescue Operation in Perth

                  When the iconic yellow helicopter passes over Perth's Leighton Beach, everybody stops and stares. "Is there a shark?" they wonder.
                  If there is, the crew inside the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter, as it is officially known, know about it. And from my spot inside the eye-in-the-sky, so would I. The water is crystal clear.

                  Up until my ride-along, my experience with what is colloquially known on the beach as the "shark chopper" was limited to a school visit and the odd sighting along the coast. When that helicopter hovered too long in one place, I exited the water with a speed that would have made my nippers coach proud.

                  Air crewman Jamie Kenny confirms I'm not the only one that snaps to attention when the chopper is overhead. "Their ears prick up, they wonder what's going on. If we do a second [loop] they all start heading out of the water," he says. "If the swimmers aren't listening to us, or the snorkellers, we put the siren on. That's usually very effective."

                  While the chopper is a more common sight in summer, it is crewed 365 days a year, on standby from 6.30 each morning. So, that was my start time too and I watched on as the aircraft was refuelled, cleaned and thoroughly checked.

                  "We prep the aircraft and then we're on call for any task which may come to light, from water police to surf life saving or any other job we're asked to assist with. We also conduct patrols," air crewman Michael Prosser says.

                  "We patrol all the way up to Yanchep and as far south as Port Bouvard, and the south-west [helicopter] from Bunbury down to Augusta. That's our standard patrolling area but we can go a lot further if we need to."

                  Statistics from Surf Life Saving Western Australia show that the Perth helicopter spent 425 hours in our skies last season. Crews responded to more than 50 tasks, undertook 37 "preventative actions" and reported 126 shark sightings. In the height of summer, up to four patrols are conducted each day.

                  By mid-morning, pilot Derek Doak was ready to hit the skies with rescue swimmer Mr Prosser, air crewman and winch operator Mr Kenny...and me. With a training exercise planned for later in the day, everyone on board is on the lookout for hazards - and hazardous marine life. "The more people that are on holidays, the busier we are," Mr Prosser says. "When the beaches are busy, we're keeping an eye out for people stuck in rips or just having trouble in the water."

                  On a fine day, small animals such as turtles and cormorants can be seen clearly. From the air, it is also clear what colour a person's swimsuit is, or, in the case of Swanbourne Beach, whether they're wearing one at all.

                  More than once, I found myself neglecting lookout duties, instead mesmerised by turquoise waters, white sands and the odd shirtless muscular runner leaving tiny footsteps in the sand.

                  If a shark, weak swimmer or even a suspicious shadow is spotted, the pilot positions the helicopter to allow the crew members to take a closer look. Nothing of note was seen during my ride, but if there had been, the crew would quickly radio details through to the communications centre. "We would give them a position, a direction of travel, estimated size and species if we can determine it," Mr Prosser says. "Then we might come back in an hour or so, depending on what else is going on."

                  As the chopper hovered over Perth's beaches, we were reminded to keep an eye on the skies too. "There are lots of other aircraft, especially on weekends, and it's a major issue in the summer," Mr Doak says. "There are commercial flights which do joyrides. There are banner tails are almost always there and they're very hard to spot as they often fly at the same height as us." The pilot said the airspace along the coast was not controlled and that aircraft did not always have radio communications on board. To counter that, staff said they hoped to attract funding for an advisory system in the helicopter, similar to radar, which would alert them to other aircraft in the area.

                  Westpac state general manager Nick Fahy says the existing sponsorship meant that "not one person had ever needed to pay to be rescued" by the service.
                  He said recent government funding had allowed the South West service to "extend its patrol hours significantly to ensure the continued safety of the community during the busy summer months".

                  With no dramas to deal with, the Perth crew returned to the Fremantle base to prepare for a training drill. Four new rescue swimmers were being inducted into the ranks and were, quite literally, learning the ropes just off Leighton Beach.
                  "We're very lucky to do what we do, but when we do it, we have to give 110 per cent because when things go wrong, they go wrong in a really bad way," Mr Kenny says. "There are so many inherent dangers associated with the ocean."


                  Perth's Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter, an Agusta AW119 is rolled out of its hangar at Freemantle with the use of a trolley

                  The ground crew fuels the craft

                  Pilot Derek Doak preparing for the flight

                  Once airborne from the Freemantle base everything looks different - beautiful in fact

                  At the height of the season the helicopter will conduct up to four patrols per day

                  The helicopter is regularly involved in training exercises between the helicopter's crew and rescue swimmers

                  The helicopter can winch those in distress directly on board

                  Perth's Lifesaver helicopter during a rescue training session


                  • #39
                    Miami Dade's 412 Rescues Cruise Ship Passenger

                    A Bell 412 from the Miami Dade Fire Department has performed a rescue at sea which involved winching a passenger from cruise ship off the Miami coast at night. The patient was flown to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami:


                    • #40
                      Anger at Kinloss Rescue-Helicopter Control Centre Move to South Coast

                      The coalition Government has announced that the air rescue control centre will be moved from Moray in Scotland to Fareham in Hampshire and combined with the National Maritime Operations Centre.

                      The Aeronautical Rescue and Co-ordination Centre at Kinloss is responsible for mobilising the RAF, Royal Navy and Coastguard helicopters that are used in mountain rescues throughout Britain.

                      The move comes as the date for the privatisation of the UK’s search and rescue helicopter service approaches. The ageing Sea Kings used by the RAF and Royal Navy will be replaced by new aircraft under a contract with US company Bristow and will carry the livery of the Coastguard.

                      The first new helicopters are due to enter service next year.

                      Being phased-out: A Royal Navy rescue Sea King

                      The Westminster Government said: “The relocation of the ARCC to the National Maritime Operations Centre at Fareham will combine the aeronautical and maritime rescue co-ordination functions, resulting in a better service for those in distress.

                      “The new UK search and rescue service will use brand-new faster helicopters to cut average response times and providing a more reliable overall service.”

                      But the Scottish National Party condemned the move, calling it devastating for the staff involved.

                      Westminster SNP leader and defence spokesman Angus Robertson MP, whose Moray constituency is home to Kinloss Barracks and the rescue centre, said: “This is devastating news for the personnel at Kinloss, for Moray and for Scotland more generally.

                      “It is the latest in a series of disproportionate MoD cuts to defence bases, capabilities and personnel.

                      “Two out three Scottish airbases have been cut, the entire maritime patrol fleet has been scrapped and we have the lowest military personnel numbers in Scotland in living memory.

                      “That the closure announcement is happening in the middle of a life-threatening storm and comes only weeks after the independence referendum tells you much about the cynical approach of the MoD and the UK government.”

                      The ARCC scrambles the military Sea King helicopters and communicates with the voluntary mountain rescue teams and other civilian search and rescue teams who can request assistance from the aircraft.


                      • #41
                        Storms Hampering QZ8501 Search Efforts

                        Indonesian Air Force helicopter pilot Major Suryo on Sunday morning (Jan 4) experienced first-hand difficulty of operating amid the rough weather which has dogged the week-long search for wreckage and bodies following the downing of AirAsia flight QZ8501 on Dec 28.

                        Early on Sunday, the National Search and Rescue Agency BASARNAS had informed his unit that a ship from Japan - one of the scores of vessels that have descended on the region to join in the multinational search effort - had caught sight of a body floating in the seas off Kalimantan.

                        Indonesian Air Force helicopter pilot Major Suryo said he was unable to retrieve a body due to lashing rain and poor visibility on Sunday​

                        The 36-year-old, who has been flying since 2003, headed out in his Super Puma helicopter but was unable to locate the body due to the lashing rain and poor visibility. He was only 20 nautical miles away from where the body was spotted, he told Channel NewsAsia.

                        MAJ Suryo said he believes he could have recovered the body if he had just 10 more minutes. "I feel very bad," he said.

                        He and his crew of four experienced isolated showers and winds of 20 to 25 knots on the flight out. "There was no way to get there because of the storm," he said. "It was full of rain and very dark; I could not see anything."

                        At mid-day, he still harboured hopes of heading back out to retrieve the body if the weather cleared. "It will not drift very far - maybe 500m or so," he told Channel NewsAsia then. But the rain continued to pour down throughout the day, peaking around 4pm, dashing his hopes. His Super Puma did not head out again on Sunday.

                        An Indonesian Air Force Super Puma returns from a search mission for AirAsia QZ8501 at the airbase in Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan, on January 4, 2015

                        Elsewhere in the search zone, four bodies were recovered on Sunday, bringing the total tally to 34. In a press conference, BASARNAS chief Bambang Soelistyo said bad weather resulted in a Russian amphibious plane that joined the search turning back on Sunday, but conditions are expected to improve on Monday.

                        If so, divers will be sent to where five "big objects" have been sighted, as it is believed that the plane’s black box is not far from these objects, the head of the national search agency said.