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HeliTorque Forum Index » EMS, SAR & Law Enforcement

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Busy start to the year for HMS Gannet helicopter
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:03 pm    Post subject: Busy start to the year for HMS Gannet helicopter Reply with quote

Busy start to the year for HMS Gannet helicopter
January 11, 2011

The duty search and rescue crews from the Royal Navy's HMS Gannet at Prestwick in Ayrshire have just completed a run of seven calls in seven days.

Taking them to the extreme north and south of their usual response area, as well as into Northern Ireland in the west and the Trossachs in the east, the helicopter and its crew have been pushed hard in this first full week of 2011.

The week of Christmas (from December 20-26) brought with it six call outs for the duty teams, including one on Christmas Day and two on Boxing Day. Three of the calls were to medical transfers from the Isle of Islay, and the others included sorties to Lochgilphead and the Isle of Bute.

However, the following week, including Hogmanay and New Year's Day, was eerily quiet - all to the good for the folk of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Northern England.

But, from January 3-10, the emergency crews have stepped back up to full tempo, including one day which took them from the extreme north of their coverage area (Ben Nevis), to the extreme south (Lake District).

During that week, six people were rescued after a total of some 13 hours of flying time - an average of nearly two hours per job.

The call outs included transferring a casualty who had fallen overboard from a boat in Argyll to Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock, transporting a casualty of a road traffic collision from Stirlingshire to hospital in Edinburgh and a request to search for two missing persons in Northern Ireland.

Saturday January 8, however, brought with it their compass challenge. At 1.40pm, the duty team received a call from Fort William police to aid in the search and subsequent rescue of two fallen climbers on Ben Nevis.

On scene, aircrewman and paramedic Sergeant Andy Dixon, who is on exchange to the Royal Navy from the Royal Air Force, winched down to the casualties to assess the next step.

For Andy this was his first major mountain job since his recent start at the unit and he was about to find that things were not quite as straight forward as could be hoped.

Arriving beside the climbers, Andy found that they were both French and spoke no English, therefore making diagnosis very tricky. He was able to make an assessment on the pair, though, and elected to winch the stricken duo straight out in order to expedite the rescue as speedily as possible.

The casualties were then transported rapidly down the mountain to a waiting ambulance and a doctor from the mountain rescue team.

After three hours in the sky, the crew returned to Prestwick at 4.35pm.

They had but an hour, though, before their second emergency call came in, this time to the extreme south of their usual area, the Lake District.

Scrambled at the request of Cumbria Police at 5.45pm the four duty crew members were on their way to rescue a climber who was stuck on Great End in the Scafell chain of peaks.

The crew arrived on scene to find that Keswick Mountain Rescue Team had not only reached the casualty, but also recovered them to safety. And they were able to return to base knowing that the climber was in safe hands, landing back at base at 7.40pm.

This busy day's crew was Lieutenant George ‘Logie' Baird and Lieutenant Andy Ellis (both pilots), Lieutenant Commander Dave Reese (observer) and Sergeant Andy Dixon (aircrewman/paramedic).

Source: Royal Navy
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