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HeliTorque :: View topic - Police Air Wing involvement in the Carnarvon floods
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HeliTorque Forum Index » EMS, SAR & Law Enforcement

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Police Air Wing involvement in the Carnarvon floods
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:44 am    Post subject: Police Air Wing involvement in the Carnarvon floods Reply with quote

Western Australia Police Air Wing involvement in the Carnarvon floods, December 2010
January 03, 2011

The town of Carnarvon, situated approximately 900 kilometres north of Perth, in Western Australia, recently suffered the worst flooding in 50 years. The region was hit by a monsoonal low that delivered 245mm of rain in a single day, nearly 20mm more than the annual rainfall. This resulted in the Gascoyne River, normally dry at this time of the year, bursting it's banks and cut off many remote cattle stations, the town of Carnarvon and the small settlement of Gascoyne Junction.

WA Police Air Wing (PAW) was requested on the evening of Saturday December 18th as the river levels rose and calls for assistance started coming to the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA). It was identified early that a winch equipped helicopter would be required. The PAW BK117 departed Perth at 2am on Sunday morning, travelling to Geraldton to refuel before flying in convoy to Gascoyne Junction with a Sikorsky S-61 that was able to take several drums of fuel and dump them in the area for PAW operations. The S-61 was contracted by FESA and based in Perth for fire fighting duties.

Over the following three days the BK117 conducted over 42 day and night winches and recovered over 45 people (including an 11 day old baby) from roof tops, vehicles and isolated properties. The helicopter was also used to conduct reconnaissance flights and to drop resupplies to isolated properties.

The PAW Jandakot based Pilatus PC12 was also utilised to convey relief helicopter crew to the region. The aircraft conveyed supplies and people within the region and was used to refuel the BK117. The refuelling system designed locally for the WA Police allows the PC12 to land at remote locations and refuel via a small electrical pump from the PC12's fuel system. This was the first opportunity to use this system in the field.

The logistics and the size of the area covered was massive and allowed the PAW to fully exploit the units resources. One task involved the BK117 to fly 320km's east of Carnarvon to conduct a resupply and welfare check at a remote station. These distances are all in a days work for the PAW.

In mid-2011 the PAW will take delivery of a Eurocopter AS365N3+ to further increase the units capability.

Source: Western Australia Police
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