UK: RAF Search & Rescue Role Ends After 74 Years – Published 04 Oct 2015 1925z (GMT/UTC)

RAF Search & Rescue Role Ends After 74 Years

PROUD RECORD: 34,025 Call-outs completed and 26,853 lives saved

The RAF's final operational search and rescue sortie comes to an end at RMB Chivenor at 12.07 on 4 October 2015. (Image: RAF)

The RAF’s final operational search and rescue sortie comes to an end at RMB Chivenor at 12.07 on 4 October 2015. (Image: RAF)

More than 74 years of continuous life-saving operations by the Royal Air Force in the UK came to an end at 1.00pm today, when the Chivenor duty search and rescue crew was formally relieved from its standby commitment by the United Kingdom Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre. The finale for RAF Search and Rescue in the UK was ‘business as usual’ with a final search and rescue operation taking place in the early hours of this morning.

The crew of the RAF's final operational UK search and rescue sortie: (left to right) Wing Commander 'Sparky' Dunlop (captain and Officer Commanding 22 Squadron), Sergeant Dan Allanson, Sergeant Russ Jenkins and Flight Lieutenant 'PJ' Howard. (Image: RAF)

The crew of the RAF’s final operational UK search and rescue sortie: (left to right) Wing Commander ‘Sparky’ Dunlop (captain and Officer Commanding 22 Squadron), Sergeant Dan Allanson, Sergeant Russ Jenkins and Flight Lieutenant ‘PJ’ Howard. (Image: RAF)

Chivenor is the last of the RAF’s 6 search and rescue bases to hand over responsibility for helicopter search and rescue provision to Bristow Helicopters Ltd.

Official search and rescue statistics show that since 1983 the RAF’s 6 units completed 34,025 callouts and rescued 26,853 persons in distress.

The final RAF crew to hold operational search and rescue standby commitment in the UK: (left to right) Sergeant Doug Bowden, Flight Lieutenant Ayla Holdom, Flight Lieutenant Christian 'Taff' Wilkins and Flight Sergeant Chris Scurr.(Image: RAF)

The final RAF crew to hold operational search and rescue standby commitment in the UK: (left to right) Sergeant Doug Bowden, Flight Lieutenant Ayla Holdom, Flight Lieutenant Christian ‘Taff’ Wilkins and Flight Sergeant Chris Scurr.(Image: RAF)

Other Reports

BBC

Chivenor hands over air rescue services to private firm

AgustaWestland AW189 in Coastguard livery operated by Bristow

AgustaWestland AW189 in Coastguard livery operated by Bristow

An RAF air rescue team based at Chivenor in north Devon has handed over its role to a private firm.

Bristow took over from the military at RMB Chivenor at 13:00 BST and will fly out of St Athan in south Wales.

The handover was delayed by four days because Bristow said it needed extra time.

Aberdeen-based Bristow won a 10-year contract to take over the service, which is being privatised around the UK.

The £1.6bn search and rescue deal with Bristow ends 70 years of search and rescue from the RAF and Royal Navy.

END

Well done RAF! – Goaty 🙂

Related:

UK Search & Rescue helicopters to be cut by nearly 50% – 300313 1650z

UK Government plan to close 50% of UK Coastguard Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres – Updated 07 Feb 2013 0001Z: https://goatysnews.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/uk-government-plan-to-close-50-of-uk-coastguard-maritime-rescue-co-ordination-centres-published-23-aug-2012-2310z/

Privatising Search and Rescue: https://goatysnews.wordpress.com/2013/02/07/5765/

Could this be the coalition government’s biggest cock-up yet?: https://goatysnews.wordpress.com/2012/09/29/3435/

Support flaring for Clyde Coastguard, Scotland – Published 03 Sept 2012 1440Z: https://goatysnews.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/support-flaring-for-clyde-coastguard-scotland-published-03-sept-2012-1440z/

Woman rescued after falling from yacht off Nash Point, Vale of Glamorgan

Wales Air Forum

Location map

A woman has been flown to hospital after falling overboard from a yacht off Nash Point in the Vale of Glamorgan, say Swansea coastguards.

The skipper of the 35ft yacht sent a radio and mayday message at 07:10 BST reporting the emergency.

The woman was struggling to get back on board but was wearing a lifejacket and was attached to the boat.

An RAF search and rescue helicopter from Chivenor in Devon pulled her from the water.

She was flown to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff where coastguards later said she was making a good recovery.

David Jones, Swansea Coastguard duty watch manager, said: “We cannot stress enough how important it is for people to be well prepared when they head out to sea.

“These crew members were well equipped. I believe the correct use of DSC radio no doubt assisted in the swift recovery of this casualty…

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On the BBC – Thrilling real-life drama is business as usual for RAF Search and Rescue

Update 08 Mar 2013:

BBC One Wales Today 20:30 BST

Helicopter Rescue

Series profiling the work of Wales’s RAF Search and Rescue crews

Image for Helicopter Rescue

This programme is not currently available on BBC iPlayer

Next on

Series 2 Episode 1

1/4 Flt Lt Wales flies a Sea King to rescue a boy injured in a quarry in Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Today 20:30 BBC One Wales, Wales HD only

See all upcoming broadcasts of Helicopter Rescue

RAF Families Federation

WILLIAMA new series of Helicopter Rescue lands on BBC One Wales on 8 April and viewers will be able to experience the drama and suspense of thrilling rescue footage featuring… More information

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Wales: Angle lifeboat, rescue helo & warship in dramatic medevac from trawler in rough sea & force 8 gale, 2 other shouts detailed – 230313 0035z

(Photo: RAF/Angle lifeboat) Angle lifeboat standing off.

“The first shout yesterday was: At 1033 the ALB launched to reports of a young male threatening to jump from the Cleddau Bridge, near Pembroke Dock. As the young man was not seen on the bridge when the Coastguard arrived on scene the ALB deployed her daughter boat, and the two boats conducted a thorough search of the area. At 1212 the Coastguard and Police were satisfied that the risk was sufficiently reduced that the ALB could be released to return to station. She arrived back on the slipway at approximately 1300.

The second, and longest, of yesterday’s shouts. The crew had barely arrived at their homes for a well-earned lunch when the pagers went again. The ALB launched at 1358 to assist an injured crewman from a 25-metre French trawler south of the Smalls, a rocky outcrop with a lighthouse, some 21 miles west of the station.

In very rough sea conditions with up to 6.5m swell, an RAF helicopter had spent an hour trying to get a winchman aboard the trawler, but had been unable to, and had left the scene to refuel at Haverfordwest. The ALB arrived on scene at the same time as a Royal Naval warship, who had offered to try to provide a lee for the ALB to transfer the casualty, and a translator to assist with communications with the French-speaking trawler crew. The ALB made approaches assess the possibility of coming alongside the vessel. The condition of the casualty was given at this time as able to walk, but weak, and suffering hypothermia. It would not have been possible to transfer such a casualty in the conditions, and the trawler was asked to make best speed toward the coast where, given the offshore wind, conditions were more favourable, and the rescue helicopter was requested to return to the scene. On her arrival, still in dreadful conditions, after numerous attempts the helicopter winchman was able to land on the trawler, and the casualty airlifted to hospital. The ALB was unable to rehouse due to the conditions at the slipway, and was moored at approximately 1900, prior to seeking a berth in a local marina.

FB video of medevac from trawler, March 21, 2013

And the third shout yesterday: Before she slipped her mooring, Milford Haven Coastguard requested the assistance of the lifeboat for the third time, to help investigate reports of red flares, sighted at Gelliswick, in the Milford Haven waterway. Using radar, searchlights and night-vision equipment nothing was found. The lifeboat was taken to Neyland marina, leaving the boat at 2110, and the crew driven back to Angle in the station Land Rover, arriving about an hour later. The lifeboat is still ready for service, with the crew ready to drive to Neyland should the pagers go. The crew expect to bring her back to the boathouse on Saturday morning.” – Angle Lifeboat RNLI

News Reports

(Photo: Royal Navy) RAF search and rescue helicopter from Chivenor was sent to the scene but weather conditions proved too bad for a winchman to be lowered on to the vessel

“This dramatic photograph shows the awful conditions that a Pembrokeshire RNLI crew battled through to get to an injured fisherman yesterday (Thursday).

The Portuguese fisherman was taken to hospital after suffering a head injury on his fishing boat about 30 nautical miles west of St Anns Head.

The RAF search and rescue helicopter from Chivenor was sent to the scene but weather conditions proved too bad for a winchman to be lowered on to the vessel.

The RNLI all-weather lifeboat from Angle was launched to meet the vessel, which was asked to head closer to land to try to find calmer waters, and HMS Echo went to assist.

The helicopter then returned to the scene and airlifted the casualty to Morriston Hospital in Swansea.

Milford Haven Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) was contacted by the French authorities just before midday to report that a fisherman needed evacuation.

Watch keeping staff at Milford Haven MRCC tried to make contact with the vessel, but the people on board spoke little English, and a member of MRCC staff who spoke French managed to pass on some information.

The wind at the time was blowing a south easterly gale force eight (39-46 mph), with rough seas.

Milford Haven MRCC watch manager Barrie Yelland said: “Due to the weather conditions, this was a challenging rescue for all involved. It was made all the more difficult as those on board the fishing vessel couldn’t speak English.”

Commenting on last nights incident, MP Stephen Crabb said: I praise the efforts of all those involved in last nights rescue off St Anns Head. It is testament to the skills and dedication of the crew of volunteers from Angle RNLI , our local Coastguard and the RAF, who worked together to battle against the challenging weather conditions to bring this injured fisherman to safety. I understand that the individual is now receiving attention in Morriston Hospital.

This incident is a reminder of why we worked so hard to retain our much valued local coastguard centre in Milford Haven. And a reminder of the excellent work carried out locally to help support the RNLI in their vital work in saving lives at sea. “

RAF SAR Busy all Weekend

RAF Families Federation

SARWith extreme weather conditions affecting most of the country, RAF Search and Rescue teams have had a busy weekend and been on at a constant state of readiness. One rescue involved a heavily pregnant woman. Captain of the aircraft, Flt Lt Taff Wilkins said: “When the crew arrived, conditions were near zero visibility… We popped a smoke grenade onto the ground next to the landing site as we overflew it…More information »

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Climber airlifted after 30m fall near St Govan’s Head

Wales Air Forum

A climber was airlifted to hospital after falling 30m (100ft) onto rocks at St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire.

The 23-year-old from Gloucestershire suffered pelvic, leg and chest injuries after he slipped and safety clips gave way at around 18:45 BST on Tuesday.

Milford Haven coastguard said land teams from St Govan’s Head, Tenby and Manorbier went down the cliff to him before the rescue helicopter arrived.

The man was flown to Morriston Hospital in Swansea. His condition is not known.

A coastguard spokeswoman said the man, from Wotton-Under-Edge, was climbing with a friend near St Govan’s Head.

She said: “He slipped and two pieces of his protective equipment pulled out. The third piece held him. Just.

“As he impacted the rocks, the third one came out. He had injuries to his pelvis and left leg and some chest problems.”

She said the coastguard teams prepared the man for being winched up…

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