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/

UK: Cliff rescue at Sewerby, East Yorkshire, after 17 yr old tried to rescue dog over cliff edge – Published 300115 1827z

My PhotoFriday, 30 January 2015
YOUTH RESCUED FROM CLIFFS AT SEWERBY, EAST YORKSHIRE
A seventeen year old who went after his dog after it had gone over a cliff edge had to be rescued himself.
Humber Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre received a 999 call from the youth’s mother at 3.15pm on 29th January to say he was stuck on cliffs at Sewerby, close to the MRCC.
His mother said he had tried to rescue their dog which had gone over the cliff edge. The dog had made its own way back, leaving the 17 year old stuck on an icy ledge.
Humber Coastguard immediately sent the Coastguard Rescue Teams from Bridlington and Filey to the scene to assess the situation. On arrival the Coastguard Rescue officers made the decision that the quickest and safest method of rescue would be by helicopter so the RAF Rescue Helicopter based at Leconfield rescued the youth from the cliff.


Watch Manager Mike Puplett said
‘This was a well executed rescue and was resolved quickly.
‘However my message once again is for dog owners to keep their pets on a lead when they are close to cliff edges.

‘Also, members of the public should never climb or descend cliffs in order to carry out a rescue themselves.
‘The weather on that day was inclement, and a snow flurry had just engulfed the area, making the cliffs even more treacherous.’

 

UK: Searchers for missing trawler Z85 Morgenster in English Channel find bodies – Published 290115 1900z (GMT/UTC)

My Photo

Friday, 30 January 2015
UPDATE ON SEARCH FOR OVERDUE FISHING VESSEL
The Search and Rescue operation looking for the missing fishing vessel which had been fishing in the Dover Strait is being co-ordinated by the French coast guard as it is now in their territorial waters.

Dover Coastguard was initially alerted to the missing vessel on the afternoon of 28th January.

The search is now concentrated on an area four miles from the French coast. Any further involvement of the UK authorities will be at the request of the French coast guard.

Thursday, 29 January 2015
UPDATE ON SEARCH FOR OVERDUE FISHING VESSEL
The search continues this morning for a missing fishing vessel which had been fishing in the Dover Strait.
Dover Coastguard was alerted to the disappearance yesterday afternoon. Four crew were known to be onboard.
An RAF helicopter is searching the area along with a French maritime aircraft. Two all-weather lifeboats from Dungeness and Dover are on the scene.
A number of Belgian and Dutch fishing vessels remain on the scene in the area, looking out for any sign of their missing colleagues.
The weather conditions on scene remain challenging.

End

LifeboatsDungeness and Dover RNLI lifeboats search for missing Belgian fishing trawler

The volunteer lifeboat crews of two Kent RNLI lifeboat stations launched yesterday evening (Wednesday 28 January) to help search for a Belgian fishing trawler in the English Channel.

Dungeness all-weather lifeboat launched at 5.08pm after being tasked by Solent Coastguard to search for the 40m vessel which lost all communication earlier the same day at 1.30pm.

The Belgian-registered trawler, carrying a crew of four people, was situated 10 miles south of Dungeness when all contact was lost.

Hours after the Dungeness RNLI crew launched, Dover Coastguard requested the launch of Dover RNLI lifeboat to assist in the search. The crew launched their all-weather lifeboat just after 7pm.

Also involved in the search were coastguard helicopters Rescue 104 and Rescue 125. It is also understood several other fishing trawlers were assisting with the search.

Chris Ubee, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Dungeness RNLI, said the weather and sea conditions for his crew of five volunteers were challenging at first, but later subsided. He said: ‘In the afternoon there was some strong gusting winds and the sea was very lumpy. That did later calm slightly and by 10pm the crew were searching beneath clear skies, with a moderate breeze and moderate to rough seas.’

However, for the Dover lifeboat crew conditions were set to worsen through the night, with a warning of severe gales expected after 11pmon Wednesday. Billy Hollis, Deputy Launching Authority for Dover RNLI said: ‘Our crew of eight volunteers were tasked to search an area known as Varn Bank, south of Dover.

‘Throughout the evening we were operating approximately eight miles away from where Dungeness lifeboat were searching, which gives an idea of the sizeable search area

’Throughout the evening we were operating approximately eight miles away from where Dungeness lifeboat were searching, which gives an idea of the sizeable search area.’

At midnight, both Dungeness and DOver RNLI lifeboats were still searching for any sign of the missing trawler. The RNLI’s all-weather lifeboats are equipped to search up to 100 nautical miles out to sea. At the speeds they were travelling, it was estimated the lifeboats could search for several days without needing to refuel.

  • Update 7am, Thursday 29 January. Hastings RNLI lifeboat crew were asked to join he search at 12.15am today (Thursday). Dungeness RNLI lifeboat crew were stood down at 12.50am. And at 4.45am, both Dover and Hastings RNLI lifeboats returned to their stations when the search was suspended, possibly to recommence at first light

Press Report

BBC   29 January 2015 Last updated at 17:04

Missing trawler rescue teams find bodies in English Channel

The vessel believed to be missing off Dungeness

The vessel went missing in rough seas and strong winds

Rescuers searching for a Belgian trawler missing in the English Channel with four people on board have recovered two bodies from the sea.

The search for the fishing boat began on Wednesday afternoon when it vanished in rough seas and gale force winds.

The RNLI said the bodies, which were found in the sea off Boulogne, had been recovered back to the French port.

A life jacket and wooden debris were spotted by a French fixed wing aircraft north-west of Boulogne earlier.

Those on board the Z85 Morgenster are believed to be Dutch, Portuguese and Belgian.

A coastguard helicopter, two Kent lifeboats and a French search and rescue helicopter carried out the first search for the trawler, which had been fishing in the Dover Strait.

A number of Belgian and Dutch fishing vessels have also been in the area looking for any signs of the missing vessel.

2 Lancaster Bombers Fly Together for First Time in 50 Years

RAF Families Federation

At RAF Conings2 Lancaster Bombers Fly Together for First Time in 50 Years.by in Lincolnshire two Lancaster Bombers took to the skies yesterday for the first formation flight of this aircraft type since the 1960s.  The Lancaster “Thumper”, which is… More information. If you are using a MOBILE DEVICE please use this link

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The Order of St John and Mountain Rescue?

heavywhalley

I bet few who use the Outdoors know about the wonderful work of the Order Of St John and its incredible assistance to Mountain Rescue in Scotland? Hope fully after reading this you may have an idea of what work they have done.

Order of st John Logo

This is the copy of a letter I wrote to the Order when I retired from Mountain Rescue. Firstly please accept my sincere apologies for not writing before to thank you for all your great work for the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland over the year for the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland over the years. I was the Chairman of the Mountain Rescue Committee in the early nineties when we were first approached by the Order of St John who wanted to assist Mountain Rescue in Scotland.

I was at that time in the RAF and serving at RAF Kinloss in Morayshire. I was the Team…

View original post 835 more words

UK: Two walkers flown to safety after Cairngorms rescue near Devil’s Point – 291013 1500z

Police Scotland can confirm that they were called to assist with a mountain rescue in the central Cairngorms on Monday, October 28, at around 6.45pm, after two male walkers reported they were lost in the Devils Point area, near Cairn Toul.

File:Cairngorms-sketch-map.jpg

A full mountain rescue deployment was immediately launched, building to eight mountain rescue teams, as well as the RAF Search and Rescue helicopter from RAF Lossiemouth.

The lost walkers were found by searchers in a very precarious location on the high plateau at around 8.15am, suffering the effects of hypothermia and exhaustion. They were then evacuated by helicopter to the Mountain Rescue Centre at Braemar.

Chief Inspector Andrew Todd, team leader of the Police Scotland (Grampian) Mountain Rescue Team, said:
This mountain rescue incident gave us grave cause for concern as the lives of these individuals were clearly in jeopardy.
Specially-trained and experienced mountain rescue officers worked through the night with volunteers from both the Braemar and Aberdeen mountain rescue teams. We brought in support from volunteer teams in both Tayside and the Highlands & Islands, as well as search and rescue dogs and the RAF, so that we could find the hill walkers before they succumbed to cold, wet and exhaustion.
It was very rewarding for all those involved when we found them. They were on very steep ground and unable to move, but we were able to evacuate them safely back to Braemar. Thankfully, they did not sustain any serious injuries and were able to return home after they were checked over at the Mountain Rescue Centre.” Lomond Mountain Rescue Team

Other reports

Two walkers flown to safety after Cairngorms rescue near Devil’s Point

BBC

Two walkers were flown to safety after a major overnight search in the Cairngorms.

Braemar and Aberdeen mountain rescue teams were among those assisted by a helicopter from RAF Lossiemouth during the operation.

They faced blizzard conditions in the Devil’s Point area, near Cairn Toul.

The alarm was raised on Monday night. The two men were found in a “precarious location” at about 08:15, suffering the effects of hypothermia and exhaustion.

‘Very rewarding’

Ch Insp Andrew Todd, team leader of the Police Scotland (Grampian) Mountain Rescue Team, said: “This mountain rescue incident gave us grave cause for concern as the lives of these individuals were clearly in jeopardy.

“Specially-trained and experienced mountain rescue officers worked through the night with volunteers from both the Braemar and Aberdeen mountain rescue teams.

“We brought in support from volunteer teams in both Tayside and the Highlands and Islands, as well as search and rescue dogs and the RAF, so that we could find the hill walkers before they succumbed to cold, wet and exhaustion.”

He added: “It was very rewarding for all those involved when we found them.

“Thankfully, they did not sustain any serious injuries and were able to return home after they were checked over.”

Related

Cairngorm John’s guide to staying safe in the mountains this winter

“For many people, the lure of tackling Scotlands mountains in winter is irresistible.

The prospect of walking, climbing or skiing on pristine-white slopes, amid a sun-drenched vista, carries understandable attractions for all those who enjoy outdoor pursuits.

Yet, as John Allen, the man who led the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue team from 1989 to 2007, is only too aware, there are few things more foolhardy than taking to the hills without adequate precautions to ensure a terrific day out isnt transformed into a terrifying white-out.

Allen penned his autobiography, Cairngorm John (Sandstone Publishing) last year and recounted his myriad experiences on the mountains, where the weather can close in on unsuspecting climbers in the space of a few moments.

And he has witnessed enough tragedies to realise that you can never tame Nature to the stage where you have eliminated risk altogether.

Indeed, the winter of 2012-13 was a pretty grim season on the slopes. In January, four climbers perished on Glencoe, a walker subsequently died in the Cairngorms, and three others lost their lives, following a devastating avalanche in February.

Allen knows as much as anybody about the ferocity of the conditions during these incidents.

He said: It is positively Arctic. The wind can pick you up and physically throw you in the air. The visibility can be reduced by blinding snow and cloud to one or two metres and the temperature is regularly well below -18C.

Your domestic freezer runs at that temperature. That will freeze beef or even horse meat. Most climbers simply cannot comprehend what these conditions are like.

So, when you go to the mountains, it will never be entirely risk-free. But it should be remembered that avalanche conditions can be recognised and steps taken to avoid them.

John Allen’s top eight tips for those on the mountains in winter.

via STV via STV
  • Do NOT go out unless you can comfortably navigate in mist or darkness using a Silva-type compass and Ordnance Survey map. Your map should be protected from the damp – a freezer bag will do nicely.
  • Never go out without consulting the avalanche forecast and the weather forecast. (There are plenty of good web sites, such as http://www.stv.tv).
  • Do NOT go out without your ice axe and crampons and head torch. Practice your ice axe braking techniques at the start of the winter. Replace the batteries on your head torch.
  • Be prepared to alter your route or turn back. There is no shame in making a retreat. In fact, it is often the mark of the experienced mountaineer that they can make the disciplined retreat.
  • Never rely only on your mobile phone. There are many areas where there is no signal. Keep your phone switched off to preserve batteries. Do NOT rely on an App map for your navigation or the compass on your phone. (One of our team members once said that if your phone was dead, the only way to attract the attention of the CMRT would be to throw the phone at them!)
  • Don’t rely on Global Positioning Satellite devices. They are not always correct and, in a deep corrie or valley, you may not get three satellites to give your position.
  • Good winter boots and outer shell clothing are, of course, a necessity.
  • Dialling 999 should be a last resort – only used after considering all the options.

One last thought….

At the end of the day, we can never eliminate all the risks of being in the hills.

There is the quote from many years ago which I often use: If you go into the mountains, if you want to see what beauty they offer, you have to accept that the mountains can take as well as give.

These words were spoken by a woman who had lost her father, nearly 50 years ago, while he was guiding on the Tour Ronde. They are worth remembering by everyone.

Mountain Weather Forecasts (Met Office)

Search & Rescue News (Goatys News)

 

Scotland: Helicopter ditches in North Sea off Shetland – 4 oil workers dead (named), 14 others rescued – 240813 1635z

Three people were missing after a helicopter carrying 18 people crashed into the sea off the coast of Scotland on Friday.

The Coastguard said 15 people had been rescued and were taken to hospital, but three are unaccounted for.

The incident happened near the Shetland Islands, northeast of Edinburgh, and involved a Super Puma helicopter taking 16 passengers and two crew members to and from oil and gas platforms.

The Department of Transport issued an statement on behalf on the Air Accidents Investigation Branch stating it was “aware of incident” and has deployed a team. An air and sea search is continuing, with three helicopters and two lifeboats involved.

“Our two lifeboats are searching for those three unaccounted for,” said Tim Ash, a spokesman for Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Wreckage from the crash has been spotted, said Ash, who added that rescue teams were dealing with strong tides and poor visibility. “Winds are not particularly strong but visibility is not good. Those are the circumstances that our volunteers are facing,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Coastguard said two life rafts from the helicopter were located and found empty.

Saturday, 24 August, 2013 at 04:21 (04:21 AM) UTC RSOE

Other reports

Helicopter Crash: Four Dead In North Sea

SKY NEWS 2:46pm UK, Saturday 24 August 2013

The helicopter suffered a “catastrophic loss of power” and ended up upside down in the North Sea, triggering a massive rescue.

“Police have named the four oil workers who died after a helicopter ditched into the sea on its way to Shetland.

(Video credit:  turan utkan)

The victims are: Duncan Munro, 46, from Bishop Auckland; Sarah Darnley, 45, from Elgin; Gary McCrossan , 59, from Inverness; and George Allison, 57, from Winchester.

The Super Puma L2 went down at approximately 6.27pm on Friday, around two miles west of Sumburgh airport as it was returning to Shetland from the Borgsten Dolphin platform.

The helicopter was carrying 16 workers and two crew.

“The bodies of three people have been recovered and work is underway to recover the body of the fourth person,” Police Scotland said in a statement.

Shetland helicopter crash
At least three of the dead had trouble escaping the upturned helicopter

The body of the fourth victim is understood to be in the wreckage of the aircraft.

All the families have been informed.

A search operation involving coastguard, police, RAF and local lifeboats was able to rescue 14 people from the sea, including the two crew. They were taken to Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick.

“Five were discharged and nine detained overnight either for observation or suffering from exposure,” the police statement said.

The helicopter is reported to be in several pieces but the wreckage has now been secured by the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution).

A victim is stretchered
One of the rescued workers is moved on a stretcher

Helicopter operator CHC, which operates in 30 countries, said on its website that it was temporarily suspending all Super Puma L2 flights worldwide as a precaution.

It has also suspended flights in Aberdeen “as a mark of respect”.

Amanda Smith, the mother of one of the workers, Sam Smith, said that her son had telephoned her from hospital after suffering cuts in the crash.

She told Sky News: “He said it seemed to lose power and there was no time to brace, they just dropped into the sea.

“He was by the window so he was able to escape that way as it rolled over.

“He said he had come off better than a lot of people. It didn’t seem real, I would say two hours later it’s just beginning to sink in.”

CHC said it was flying for French oil company Total and that the aircraft had lost communication as it approached the airport on the southern tip of Shetland’s main island.

Victims of the crash walking from the coastguard rescue helicopter
Some of those rescued were able to walk unaided after the rescue

The four people who died were working for Total through contractor organisations.

A CHC spokesman said: “The aircraft was on approach to Sumburgh Airport at approximately 6.20pm when contact was lost with air traffic control.”

Mark Abbey, regional director for CHC, expressed his “heartfelt sympathies to all those involved” but said the company would not be speculating about the cause of the crash.

Investigators from the Department for Transport’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch are looking into the incident.

The helicopter was upside down in the water when rescuers arrived, said Sky’s James Matthews in Aberdeen.

“At least three of the four who died had trouble getting out of the wreckage. One body remains in there this morning,” said Matthews.

The survivors were aided by waterproof immersion suits that helped keep them afloat and warm in the North Sea.

The tide – which was heading towards the land – also helped survivors.

Jim Nicholson, RNLI rescue co-ordinator, said: “There appears to have been a catastrophic loss of power which meant the helicopter suddenly dropped into the sea without any opportunity to make a controlled landing.”

Last year, two Super Puma helicopters ditched in the North Sea only six months apart.

All passengers and crew were rescued in both incidents, which were found to be caused by gearbox problems.

Helicopter crash off Shetland islands
Several helicopters have been involved in the search operation

However, the latest incident marks the fourth in four years involving Super Puma aircraft.

In April 2009, 16 people died when a helicopter returning from BP’s Miller platform crashed 11 miles from Peterhead after a “catastrophic failure” in part of its main gearbox.

The Unite union’s Scottish Secretary, Pat Rafferty, said the safety record was “unacceptable” and called on the oil and gas industry to use “every means at their disposal to demonstrate that its fleet is fit for purpose”.

Bob Crow, head of the RMT union, said he expected an “outpouring of  anger” after the latest incident.

“The entire Super Puma fleet must remain grounded until the causes of this latest event are established,” said Mr Crow.

 CHC has set up a helpline for concerned relatives on 01224 296 866.

” – SKY NEWS

Videos

Shetland Helicopter Crash: Four Fatalities

(Video credit: VIRALTV2013 )

Shetland Helicopter Crash Four Dead Named

(Video credit:  DailyNews779)

Published on Aug 24, 2013

They were Duncan Munro, 46, from Bishop Auckland, Sarah Darnley, 45, from Elgin, Gary McCrossan, 59, from Inverness, and George Allison, 57, from Winchester.

Three of the four bodies have been recovered. Police Scotland confirmed 14 others were rescued.

The Super Puma L2 helicopter crashed west of Sumburgh Airport at about 18:20 BST on Friday.

An investigation into the cause of the tragedy is under way.

RNLI rescue co-ordinator Jim Nicholson said the helicopter – carrying workers from an oil rig – apparently suffered a “catastrophic loss of power”.

He said it appeared the aircraft had “suddenly dropped into the sea without any opportunity to make a controlled landing”.
Amanda Smith, whose son Sam was on the helicopter, told Sky News it suddenly lost power and those on board had “no time to brace”.

“He was by the window so he was able to escape that way as it rolled over,” she said.

“He said he had come off better than a lot of people, [those] were his words.”

Tim Ripley, an aviation expert with Jane’s Defence Weekly, told the BBC there were “many possible scenarios” behind the helicopter crash.

He said: “The most common one at low level for aircraft and helicopters is bird strikes.

“If one of these helicopters ingested a bird it would cause a very, very nasty accident.

“But it doesn’t seem like that because we have no reports of collisions, which points towards a failure of the engine and the mechanical systems on the helicopter.”

A total of 18 people were on board the helicopter.The 14 survivors, including the two crew members, were taken to Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick for treatment.

Police Scotland said five were discharged a short time later and nine were detained overnight either for observation or suffering from exposure.

The ditched helicopter was found broken into several pieces up against rocks.

Boats, including a ferry and a cargo ship, joined lifeboat crews from Lerwick and Aith and helicopters from the coastguard, RAF Lossiemouth and two Bond rescue helicopters to search for survivors.

The AS332 L2 helicopter, carrying passengers crew from the Borgsten Dolphin oil rig in the North Sea, was operated by CHC for Total, taking people to and from oil and gas installations.

Oil firm Total confirmed that the three men and one woman who died all worked for contract organisations.

‘Lost power’
Earlier, Mr Nicholson told the BBC the helicopter had been in a “fairly inaccessible position… near the cliffs”, with weather in the area not “particularly good”.
A CHC spokesman confirmed that an L2 aircraft landed in the water, approximately two miles west of Sumburgh on Friday.

“The aircraft was on approach to Sumburgh Airport at approximately 6.20pm when contact was lost with air traffic control,” he said.

In a later statement, the company said the cause of the incident was unknown but Super Puma L2 flights would be suspended worldwide.

“Also, in deference to the incident and the investigation, we are suspending all flights [on] Saturday by our UK operations,” the company added.

Bond Offshore Helicopters also said it would not be operating any of its Super Puma aircraft fleet, with the exception of its Jigsaw rescue aircraft which would be available for life at risk missions.

Michael Bull, whose son Samuel was rescued, said: “We understand he was on his way back from a rig and the helicopter lost power suddenly and immediately ditched into the water.

“He managed to escape straight away because he was right by an exit and I understand soon afterwards that the helicopter turned over.”

Aith RNLI Lifeboat crew retrieve helicopter wreckage in Shetland

(Video credit: officialrnli)

Published on Aug 24, 2013

Aith Lifeboat crew tow Super Puma helicopter which crashed into the sea off Sumburgh, Shetland, on the night of 23/24 August 2013. Four lives were lost from the helicopter.

 

24 Hour BBC Coverage – Dambusters

RAF Families Federation

BBCFor a 24 hr period – Thursday 16th and Friday 17th May the BBC will broadcast a number of programmes across radio and television commemorating the 70th anniversary of one of the most spectacular air raids of World War Two. The package features… More information. If you are using a MOBILE DEVICE please use this link

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Hovercraft, RAF helicopter & Coastguard Rescue Teams recover horse rider with spinal injuries from Hest Bank, Morecambe – 230413 1035z

Transfer of the casualty from the beach to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary via RAF helicopter (Photo: RNLI/James Donnell)

Transfer of the casualty from the beach to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary via RAF helicopter
(Photo: RNLI/James Donnell)

 

Morecambes RNLI team were requested to assist the North West Ambulance Service this afternoon in recovering a horse rider with spinal injuries stranded after being thrown from her horse. The incident occurred near Hest Bank, Morecambe.

Morecambes volunteer RNLI crew members were paged by Liverpool Coastguard at 15:50pm onSaturday 20th April 2013 after Liverpool Coastguard received a 999 call from the riders friend who was out on the sands.

Immediately the Morecambe RNLI Inshore Rescue Hovercraft The Hurley Flyer was tasked to the area along with the Morecambe and Arnside Coastguard Rescue Teams to support the North West Ambulance Service. An RAF Sea King helicopter from RAF Valley, Anglesey also attended the scene.

The person had been riding approximately a mile from shore when she had fallen from the horse, injuring her back.

Upon arrival on scene Morecambes RNLI Inshore Rescue Hovercraft crew assisted the RAF and ambulance service paramedics in transferring the casualty from the beach to the Sea King helicopter. Once the person had been stabilised she was immediately transferred to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

The horse was found safe and well ashore.

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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RAF Chinook called in to help save Sheep

RAF Families Federation

CHINOOKAs well as all the emergency work being done by RAF SAR a Chinook has also been called in to help – this time to drop fodder for sheep farmers unable to help their own flocks because of the appalling weather. A RAF Chinook arrives at Flying Stn Aldergrove, to be loaded with animal feed for distribution to farms inaccessible by road. Working alongside the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to identify… More information

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

Search and Rescue sell-off

The government is set to announce that Britains Search and Rescue service is to be sold off to an American firm.

(Scroll down for latest updates)

Duke of Cambridges base could be shut down

The Duke of Cambridge shows his father one of the RAF's distinctive yellow Sea King helicopters at RAF Valley on Anglesey
The Duke of Cambridge shows his father one of the RAFs distinctive yellow Sea King helicopters at RAF Valley on Anglesey Credit: Chris Jackson/PA Wire

Among the 12 bases from where search and rescue operations are launched is RAF Valley on Anglesey, where the Duke of Cambridge is based.

Under the contracts due to be unveiled tomorrow, the total number of bases is expected to be cut from 12 to10 although it is not clear which bases will be closed.

Assurances have already been given that the Duke will be moved to another part of the military rather than being employed by the firm that is awarded the search and rescue contracts.

For more: Privatisation of the Coastguard Service HasArrived

==============================================================

Press release

Government contract to deliver faster, state of the art search and rescue fleet

Department for Transport has signed a contract with Bristow Helicopters Ltd to provide search and rescue helicopter services in the UK.

A new 1.6 billion contract for search and rescue helicopter services will see the UK benefit from improved flying times and better coverage of high-risk areas.

The Department for Transport has today signed a contract with Bristow Helicopters Ltd to provide search and rescue helicopter services in the UK. Helicopters will be able to reach a larger area of the UK search and rescue region within one hour of take off than is currently possible, and based on historic incident data it is estimated that there will be an overall improvement in flying times to incidents of around 20% (from 23 to 19 minutes). Presently, approximately 70% of high and very high risk areas within the UK search and rescue region are reachable by helicopter within 30 minutes. Under the new contract, approximately 85% of the same area would be reached within this timeframe.

Todays announcement represents a major investment by the government in providing a search and rescue helicopter service using the most up to date helicopters and meeting the highest professional standards.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:

Our search and rescue helicopter service plays a crucial role, saving lives and providing assistance to people in distress on both land and on sea.

With 24 years of experience providing search and rescue helicopter services in the UK, the public can have great confidence in Bristow and their ability to deliver a first class service with state-of-the-art helicopters.

Under the new contract, 22 state of the art helicopters will operate from 10 locations around the UK.

  • Ten Sikorsky S92s will be based, 2 per site, at Stornoway and Sumburgh, and at new bases at Newquay, Caernarfon and Humberside airports
  • Ten AgustaWestland AW189s will operate, 2 per site, from Lee on Solent and a new hangar at Prestwick airport, and new bases which will be established at St Athan, Inverness and Manston airports

All bases will be operational 24 hours a day.

Press enquiries: 020 7944 3118
Out of hours: 020 7944 4292
Public enquiries: 0300 330 3000

=====================================================================

News Reports

https://i2.wp.com/www.streamuk.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/DailyTelegraph1.jpg

3:21PM GMT 29 Mar 2013

Britains search and rescue helicopters to be cut by nearly 50pc in new deal

“Britain’s fleet of search and rescue helicopters will be cut by nearly 50 per cent as a result of the privatisation deal announced by the Government this week.

The Ministry of Defence will retire its 40-strong fleet of Sea King helicopters from 2016, with the search and rescue aircraft being replaced with newer models provided by Texas-based firm Bristow in a 1.6 billion contract with the Department for Transport announced on Tuesday.

However, The Telegraph understands that only 22 new helicopters have been commissioned under the new contract a shortfall of 45 per cent.

Ten of the new helicopters are believed to be AgustaWestland AW189s models and another 10 are thought to be Sikorsky S-92s, both four-bladed twin-engined crafts.

The new craft are expected to be 20 per cent faster than the existing Sea Kings and will be introduced from 2015 in a 10-year deal ending 70 years of search and rescue being run by the RAF and Royal Navy.

Richard Drax, Conservative MP for South Dorset, who has campaigned to prevent a search and rescue base in Portland from closing, condemned the cuts saying it would have a severe impact on safety.

However fast it is, one helicopter can only be in one place at one time,” he said.

I dont care how fast they are, if they are tasked elsewhere, and you have less helicopters, what helicopter is going to come and do the job? So by cutting the number of helicopters, thats a risk.

The less helicopters and bases you have, the more likely a rescue helicopter will be on another task and will not be able to get where its needed, were there more helicopters and more bases.

He added: The integrity of search and rescue, by removing Portland, will be harmed, and my fear is and I dont want to be alarmist that lives will be lost.

Helicopters are notorious for breaking down, because there are so many working parts.

The Ministry of Defence said front line services would not be impacted by the cut as only 16 of the existing Sea King fleet are deployed for search and rescue missions, with the rest undergoing maintenance or used for training.

Four of the 16 Sea Kings always in deployment are operated by the Royal Navy, while the RAF operates 12, with two helicopters on each base.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) operates another seven helicopters, bringing the number of front line search and rescue aircraft to 23. Those seven, however, are in addition to the 40 aircraft run by the Ministry of Defence.

It was unclear whether those craft will be retired.

A MoD spokesperson said: It is wrong to suggest the MoD operates 40 Search and Rescue helicopters at any one time. There are 16 operational Royal Navy and RAF Sea Kings – 2 at each of the 8 bases – which deliver the UKs search and rescue service. The rest of the fleet are either in deep maintenance, used as part of training programmes or based overseas. These aircraft are not available for operations.

From 2015, search and rescue services will be provided by 22 Bristow helicopters, under a contract awarded by the Department for Transport.

A spokesperson for Bristow Helicopters admitted there would be no additional aircraft to replace any that are taken out of service but said the helicopters will all be kept fully-maintained and ready to fly, with spare parts always available if an aircraft needs to be serviced.

The company added that it expects 20 of the new helicopters to be used for frontline rescue operations, with two used for training or maintenance at any one time.

The Department for Transport insisted the new service would be better than the current one.

It said: “There will be an overall improvement in flying times to incidents of around 20 per cent (from 23 to 19 minutes).

Presently, approximately 70 per cent of high and very high-risk areas within the UK search and rescue region are reachable by helicopter within 30 minutes. Under the new contract, approximately 85 per cent of the same area would be reached within this time frame.” ” – Melanie Hall and Amy Willis telegraph.co.uk

Related:

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 governments 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/

UK Helicopter Search And Rescue Ops ‘Sold’ – 250313 2320z

(Scroll down for latest)

Sunday Times suggests SAR contract win for Bristow

Submitted by Waypoint on Tue, 03/19/2013 – 11:55
Rescue 169 Brecon Beacons

“In an article published on 17 March, the Sunday Times newspaper announced that Bristow Helicopters is set to win a 3bn contract to take over Britains search and rescue service. On 18 March, the Financial Times repeated the claim that Bristow had won out, but valued the contract at 3.1 billion. First announced in November 2011, the process is aimed at replacing the UKs current mix of military and contract civilian search and rescue (SAR) helicopter cover with either one or two civilian providers. Bidders were invited to bid for Lot 1, covering northern bases, Lot 2, covering southern bases, or Lot 3, covering all bases. The field has narrowed progressively throughout the bidding process, leaving just Bristow Helicopters and Bond Offshore Helicopters in the running; most recently, CHC left the process in January. Sunday Times journalist Karl West, who broke the news, would not reveal the source of the information, and also declined to comment on whether the win referred to Lot 1, 2 or 3. However, the Department for Transport has previously valued Lot 3 at between 2 and 3 billion, which matches the figure quoted by West. A spokesperson for Bristow Helicopters was not able to confirm or deny the suggestion. Neither was Bond able to comment. The Department for Transports timescale to announce the winner has been officially stated as spring 2013. Asked whether a winner had been chosen, a spokesperson said: All information surrounding this procurement is commercially confidential. An announcement will be made in due course. – Waypoint Tags:

Update 25 Apr 2013:

A selection of press reports….

UK Helicopter Search And Rescue Ops ‘Sold’

The sale to a US company brings to an end 70 years of Sea King search operations by the RAF and the Royal Navy.

Emergency service volunteers are winched on to an RAF search and rescue Sea King helicopter from Lake Bala during an exercise in north Wales

RAF Sea King helicopters have been running rescue operations for 70 years

By Alistair Bunkall, Defence Correspondent

The Government is selling off UK helicopter search and rescue operations to a US-based company, according to Sky sources.

The Bristow Group, which is headquartered in Texas, has won the contract to run the service from 2015 to 2026.

The exact value of the deal has not been confirmed, but it is expected to be in the region of 3bn.

An official announcement by the Government will be made at 7am on Tuesday before the stock market opens.

It marks the end of 70 years of search and rescue operations by the RAF and Navy.

The distinct yellow RAF Sea King helicopters and grey and red Navy versions were already due to retire from service in 2016.

Upkeep costs and the cost of extending their life has been deemed too expensive.

The move is also in keeping with a wider re-shaping of the military in the face of budget cuts and the 2014 withdrawal from Afganistan.

But the Sea King has been the work-horse of the skies, both in a combat and peacetime capacity, and whatever the merits of this decision, it will be missed by many.

Few other aircraft have so many memorable moments associated with them but the Sea King will long be remembered for its part in the Falklands conflict and the Fastnet race in 1979 when it helped rescue sailors from ferocious seas.

Bristow will operate the service using Sikorsky S-92 and Augusta Westland 189 helicopters.

It is understood that the technology they will introduce is so advanced that the US State Department had to give its approval for it to be used in the UK.

Bristow already provides transport services in the UK to ferry oil-rig workers to and from North Sea platforms.

The company has had a presence in Europe for more than 50 years and also operates in Australia, West Africa, Russia and Malaysia in addition to North America.

Govt to announce sell-off of Search and Rescue service

“The government is set to announce that Britain’s Search and Rescue service is to be sold off to an American firm.

Up until now, the operation has been run by the RAF, Navy and Coastguard Agency.

The firm will actually be awarded two contracts, because the service has been separated into two parts operating different types of helicopter.

An announcement is expected just before the stock market opens in the morning.” – by – Deputy Political Editor itv.com

Britain’s Helicopter Search And Rescue To Be Sold To US Company, Bristow Group

PA | Posted: 25/03/2013 22:14 GMT|Updated: 25/03/2013 22:16 GMT PA

“A US-based company is to take over Britain’s helicopter search and rescue operations, it has been reported.

The government has awarded the contract to run the service to the Bristow Group, which has its headquarters in Texas, Sky News reported.

raf search and rescue

Bristow is expected to replace the current RAF and Navy helicoptersThe broadcaster said an announcement – ending 70 years of search and rescue operations by the RAF and Royal Navy – would be made before the stock market opens on Tuesday.

The contract – which runs from 2015 to 2026 – is reported to be worth in the region of Ł3 billion.

Bristow is said to be planning replace the ageing RAF and Navy Sea King helicopters with faster, more efficient Sikorsky S-92s and AgustaWestland 189s.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “We are due to make an announcement soon.”” – Huffpost

 

Related:

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 governments 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/

The Big Picture

American firm to operate Portland Coastguard helicopter

I have warned about this before.

Her Majesty’s Coastguard Service has warned of this many, many times.

Now it is here.

Apparently American company Bristow is due to be announced as the winning bidder in the fight to take over the Coastguard Helicopter at Portland with a bid worth £3 Billion.

The rescue service is currently run jointly by the RAF, the Royal Navy and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The Portland Coastguard helicopter faces the axe in 2017 under government cost-cutting plans to relocate it to Lee-on-Solent.

More than 18,000 people have signed an e-petition to Save Portland Helicopter.

This is the thin end of a very thick wedge. Be under no illusions. Private companies exist to serve their shareholders. Their primary objective is to make a profit.

Public sector services do not work like that and it’s about time the…

View original post 258 more words

Wales: Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team in action on Snowdon, be aware of Snowdonia snow danger this Easter – 230313 1955z

Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team (@LlanberisMRT 0n twitter) in action on Snowdon in winter conditions on 21st March 2013. llanberismountainrescue

Mountaineering Instructor & Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team member, Rob Johnson:

Be aware of the significant amount of snow on the mountains this Easter in Snowdonia know the dangers of descending the railway instead of the Llanberis Path in winter.

We have not published it to criticise the people we have rescued – as team members we are all climbers and mountaineers and enjoy the mountains ourselves.

We are happy to help fellow mountaineers when they over stretch themselves in their adventures or are simply unlucky but we also try and educate to prevent people having an unnecessary epic!

Thats the purpose of this video so please share and spread the word – by getting into the mainstream media we are more likely to reach the people that would not otherwise appreciate the hazards of winter.

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. “

In a new Display – The History of RAF Duxford

RAF Families Federation

DUXFORDA new Duxford permanent exhibition has been under development for almost two decades, with the creation and delivery taking three years to complete. Steve Woolford, Head of Interpretation and Collections, said  “IWM Duxford is famously known for its air shows and… More information

View original post

The armed forces Independence Payment explained

RAF Families Federation

PAYMENTThe MoD, in conjunction with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), will introduce a new benefit called the Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP) on Mon 8 Apr 13. AFIP is a simplification of the financial support available for members of the Armed Forces who have been seriously injured as a result of military service since 6 Apri 05. AFIP will provide… More information

View original post

First female RAF search and rescue commander – 090313 1800z

 

One of the Armed Forces top female aviators has recently taken command of the RAFs Search and Rescue Force.

High-flying 44-year-old, Group Captain Sara Mackmin, will oversee all RAF search and rescue operations across the UK and the Falkland Islands.

The appointment is Group Captain Mackmins latest groundbreaking move in a career that has seen her achieve a number of firsts in the RAF.

After serving in the Balkans flying Puma helicopters she became the UKs first female helicopter instructor and in 2000 was the first female to command an operational flying unit as a squadron leader.

In 2008 she repeated the feat as a Wing Commander.

Speaking after her RAF Search and Rescue Force appointment Group Captain Mackmin said:

I was delighted to be asked to command a force that makes a real difference to peoples lives on a daily basis and to be able to work with such a dedicated and professional cadre of people, both military and civilian.

She takes up the position as the UK military prepares to transfer the search and rescue service to the Department for Transport. She added:

I am in no doubt about the challenges ahead as we prepare to transfer the UKs search and rescue service to a new provider and look forward to helping ensure a smooth transition.

Group Captain Mackmin has served 3 staff tours with MOD and worked as the personal staff officer to the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff.

As well as being a search and rescue pilot, she also volunteers with the RAFs mountain rescue teams.

About the RAF SAR Force
SAR Force Commander
Group Captain Sara Mackmin MA BEng RAF

Mission Statement
“To generate and sustain a world-leading Search and Rescue capability, including Command Control and Coordination, helicopters and Mountain Rescue Service Force elements, to be a force for good and contribute to the Ministry of Defence’s mission”

The Royal Air Force maintains a 24-hour search and rescue service covering the whole of the United Kingdom and a large surrounding area. Whilst the service exists primarily to assist military aircrew and other personnel in distress, the vast majority of scrambles are to assist civilians who find themselves in difficulties, either on land or at sea.

RAF Sea King helicopters of 22 and 202 Squadrons operate from six UK locations. Further helicopters provide SAR cover from 2 Royal Navy and 4 Maritime and Coastguard Agency contract-operated bases, giving a total of 12 helicopter units around the UK. RAF Mountain Rescue Teams (MRTs) are based at 4 locations in mainland Britain, each staffed by a core of 8 permanent staff members and supported by 28 part-time volunteers.

The Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre at RAF Kinloss tasks and co-ordinates all aeronautical SAR activity across the UK Search and Rescue Region, drawing from a wide variety of SAR helicopters, fixed wing aircraft and RAF Mountain Rescue Teams. The UK ARCC also detects and notifies emergency distress beacon alerts worldwide.

RAF Search and Rescue works closely with the civilian emergency services and has produced a technical handbook for anyone working with Search And Rescue helicopters. The booklet can be viewed or downloaded using this link to ‘Working with SAR Helicopters’.

All imagery is Crown Copyright unless specified.

Related:

UK Government plan to close 50% of UK Coastguard Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres Updated 07 Feb 20130001Z

Privatising Search andRescue

New search and rescue helicopter base to beconsidered

Duke of Cambridge takes part in search mission from RAFValley

Prince William: pictures released of a typical ‘day in thelife’

Could this be the coalition government’s biggest cock-upyet?

Support flaring for Clyde Coastguard, Scotland Published 03 Sept 20121440Z

RAF SAR crew criticised for beach landing “so the pilot can buy icecream”

 

 

Launch of new RAF Families Federation website

RAF Families Federation

mobileFri 1 Mar 13 sees the launch of the new RAF Families Federation website and mini site for smart phone and mobile device users.The new intuitive design offers a wealth of information at your finger tips. Never has it been easier to find exactly what you are looking for. Packed with the latest information, helping you and your family stay up to date with developments and news relevant to RAF serving personnel and their family members. Catch up on the latest from your Federation, find out what the RAF is up to, what the latest policy is and how development will affect you and your family. Explore our new website as a one stop shop for all you need to know about families issues. Read the latest articles in the RAF Families Federation magazine ‘Envoy’ both online and on the move. And now there is the RAF FF new mini…

View original post 26 more words

Lucky escape for ice climber after 100ft fall in Snowdonia

Wales Air Forum

RAF ValleyAN ICE climber fell 100ft down a frozen cliff – but miraculously only suffered a twisted ankle.

The man in his 40s was climbing at Parsley Fern Gully, Cwm Glas, Snowdonia, in sub-zero temperatures when he plummeted down the slope at lunchtime today.

He fell around 100ft before a ledge halted his descent – saving him from falling another 100ft.

The Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team(MRT) and 22 Squadron search and rescue team were alerted and went to the scene at around 12.30pm.

Two members of the mountain team were already climbing close to the incident and were quickly able to locate and secure the climber.

Three more team members were then winched down on to the cliff by the 22 Squadron helicopter.

They reached the climber and he was then airlifted from the scene to Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor.

A spokesman for the RAF unit said he had suffered a…

View original post 113 more words

Myanmar (Burma): Team digging for buried WW2 Spitfires have now concluded that none exist – 170213 1645z

“The hunt for up to 36 planes which many believed had been buried in Burma at the end of World War Two ends in disappointment.

SKY NEWS 3:45am UK, Sunday 17 February 2013

Burma Excavation

By Mark Stone, Asia Correspondent

A group of archaeologists, historians and scientists have admitted defeat in a mystery which has spanned decades.

After just over a month of digging for lost World War Two Spitfire planes in Burma they have concluded that none exists.

“No Spitfires were delivered in crates and buried at RAF Mingaladon (in Burma) during 1945 and 1946,” a statement from the company funding the search read.

Rather than discovering the iconic World War Two planes, the team uncovered evidence which suggested that it would have been impossible to have buried them.

Burma Excavation
Archaeologists have been left disappointed (Gavin Longhurst, Wargaming)

“(The) documents tell a story of appalling weather conditions at Mingaladon (airbase) and shortages of everything from heavy equipment to timber and labour all of which we believe suggests it would be almost impossible that the Royal Air Force could have buried aircraft thirty feet deep in wooden crates even if it had wanted to do so,” a statement from the team said.

“The team now believes, based on clear documentary evidence, as well as the evidence from the fieldwork, that no Spitfires were delivered in crates and buried.

“Most significantly, the archival records show that the RAF unit that handled shipments through Rangoon docks 41 Embarkation Unit only received 37 aircraft in total from three transport ships between 1945 and 1946.

“None of the crates contained Spitfires and most appear to have been re-exported in the autumn of 1946,” the statement concluded.

The group of experts flew out to Burma in January to begin digging at a site within the perimeter fence of Yangon international airport.

The trip had followed years of dedicated research by a farmer and aviation enthusiast from Lincolnshire.

David Cundall’s life ambition was a determination to uncover the mystery of the lost Burma Spitfires.

His firm belief that the spitfires existed stemmed from rumours and indirect documentary evidence.

In 1996 he was told that the rare MarkXIV Spitfires had been declared surplus to requirements at the end of the war and buried in crates rather than being shipped home.

Evidence from the UK National Archives and other sources had supported the claim that surplus equipment was, on occasion, buried rather than repatriated.

Mr Cundall subsequently gathered eyewitness testimony from eight surviving servicemen who claimed they saw the burial.

Three separate sites were excavated by the aviation enthusiasts and archaeologists but nothing was found.

As many as 36 planes were believed to have been buried at the airport, which was under British occupation during World War Two and called RAF Mingaladon.

The team left the UK with 17 years of research and a firm belief that as many as 140 of the planes were buried in near pristine condition at various sites by American military engineers at the end of the war.

Until mid-January, the team remained confident and committed to the search.

A series of images from a specialist camera at one site promoted some early excitement.

“The images I have seen are not conclusive but it is very encouraging that we have found a wooden crate in the same area where the Americans buried the Spitfires,” Mr Cundall said at the time.

“The water is muddy, it’s causing problems, we can’t see through the water and we will have to pump the water out before we can give more information.”

By late January confusion surrounded the project with the team’s spokesman forced to deny reports that the search had been called off.

“We haven’t found any yet,” Frazer Nash told Sky News at the end of January.

“We’re still looking. Just because we haven’t found them, it doesn’t mean they are not here.” he said.

However, just three weeks later the team has now conceded that none were ever buried in Burma.

The excavation had been given approval at the highest authority with UK Prime Minister David Cameron raising the issue with the Burmese Government on a visit to the country last year.

Years of military dictatorship in Burma had prevented the search from taking place earlier but political reforms over the past two years gave the team the go-ahead.

In a statement, the CEO of Wargaming, Victor Kisly, said: “We chose to support the Spitfire project because we found the story fascinating.

We wanted to be a part of this unique archaeological investigation of an enduring mystery whether we found planes or not.

“We are delighted our team has shown how good research can help tell a great story about not just the warplanes themselves, but the people who flew, maintained and care about them to this day. he said.” – Sky News

Related:

Myanmar: Team to start dig for buried WW2 Spitfires, believed in good condition in crates 0401132235Z

Battle of Britain Day Tribute to the RAF (the few) Updated 20 Sept2012

Scotland: 2 Climbers die & 1 critically injured after Cairngorms avalanche – 140213 1920z

A number of people have been caught up in an avalanche in the Scottish Highlands and three are “possibly unaccounted for”, Northern Constabulary said.

The avalanche was reported shortly after 12.30pm in the Chalamain Gap area of the Cairngorms.

Police were being assisted by members of Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team, search and rescue dogs, RAF Lossiemouth’s mountain rescue team and a helicopter.

A force spokesman said: “Police can confirm a number of people were caught up in the avalanche. There are possibly three people unaccounted for. Searches are continuing in the area.”

Thursday, 14 February, 2013 at 14:58 (02:58 PM) UTC RSOE

Update:

SWTS.news.image.e

Climber dies after Cairngorms avalanche

Cairngorm Ski Centre. Picture: Phil Wilkinson/ TSPLCairngorm Ski Centre. Picture: Phil Wilkinson/ TSPL

By ALISTAIR MUNRO
Published on Thursday 14 February 2013 18:02

A climber has died and two others are fighting for their lives after being struck by an avalanche and swept down a steep, rocky mountainside in the Cairngorms.

* Avalanche happened shortly after 12.30pm in Chalamain Gap area

* Two climbers remain critical in hospital

A major rescue operation was launched in the Chalamain Gap area of the mountain range, four-and-a-half miles south-east of Aviemore, when alarm was raised just after 12.30pm.

Two parties of six had been on the hill when latest tragic avalanche on Scotland’s peaks was triggered, sweeping a man and woman from one group and a man from the other pack down the valley.

Over 50 mountain rescuers were involved in the search. They located one casualty buried under the snow within two hours, and then found the remaining pair shortly afterwards.

They were all flown to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

A spokesman for NHS Grampian said last night: “Following an incident in the Cairngorms, NHS Grampian can confirm we have two casualties at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, both in a critical condition.”

The third climber died of their injuries

A source from the emergency services said: “We believe they were all alive when discovered, but were in a bad way.

They were all flown to ARI, which specialises in head trauma, but it wasn’t looking good.

Although there were two parties in the area, we believe only three people were actually avalanched.

The rest were able to walk off the hill.”

Inspector Murdoch MacLeod of Northern Constabulary said: “It was another bad day on the hills.”

At about 12.30pm we received a 999 call from a member of the public reporting an avalanche.

“It was two parties of six and the three casualties were buried by snow and debris. We were lucky to have two rescue helicopter in the area and deployed a quick search.

“The weather at the time was not too bad, with sunshine.”

A spokesman for Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team said: “There were two parties of six. The alarm was raised by people on the ground and we went to find three casualties

It was a fast-action response.

The first person was found at about 2.20pm, and the others were found just before 3pm.

It was not a big avalanche in terms of distance, but big in the amount of snow involved in a confined area.”

Previous incidents

The incident was the latest avalanche to strike in the Scottish mountains, with five lives already being claimed this year.

The Sportscotland Avalanche Information Service (SAIS) had issued forecasts for Thursday warning of a period of avalanche activity overnight in the Cairngorms and a considerable hazard throughout the day.

The Chalamain Gap is a deep, rocky valley in the Cairngorms, on the route from the Cairngorm ski road to the Lairig Ghru.

Officers from Northern Constabulary were alerted just after 12.30pm.

They were assisted by members of Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team, sniffer dogs from the Search and Rescue Dogs Association, RAF Lossiemouth mountain rescue team and two rescue helicopters from the RAF base.

One of the helicopters took the RAF team to the scene along with a search dog. RAF Leeming, who were training in the area, was also involved in the search.

Earlier this week a man died and five of his friends were rescued after they were caught in atrocious weather conditions in the Cairngorms.

Graham Connell, 31, was part of a group of six Leeds University students who failed to return after a climbing trip on Sunday. It was understood that he had been injured in a fall.

The five other students were rescued on Monday at around 12.10pm on a hill near Carn Tarsuinn in the Cairngorms by Braemar Mountain Rescue Team.

Shortly afterwards Mr Connell’s body was recovered in the Jacob’s Ladder area of the Cairngorms. Northern Constabulary said he was originally from the Castleford area of Yorkshire.

Last month four climbers were killed when they were swept 1,000ft down a steep rock edge in Glencoe.

Rachel Majunder, 29, a doctor from Leeds, student Tom Chesters, 28, also from Leeds, Chris Bell, 24, a student in Oban, and Una Finnegan, 25, a doctor based in Edinburgh, were all killed.

A week later, another climber died while climbing Ben Nevis.

Ben St Joseph, from Essex, was climbing Tower Ridge, a notorious rocky area to the north-west of the summit plateau.

He was roughly 2,800 feet up the 4,409 mountain when he plummeted hundreds of feet down a gully.

On the same weekend, three climbers survived another avalanche in the Cairngorms.

14 Feb 2013 1920z Update:

Cairngorms avalanche: Man and woman die and one critical in hospital

Rescue helicopter The RAF helicopter airlifted three people from the Chalamain Gap area of the Cairngorms

A man and a woman have died and a man has been critically injured after being caught in an avalanche in the Highlands of Scotland.

All three casualties were airlifted to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, with one being pronounced dead on arrival.

Northern Constabulary said the alert was raised shortly after 12:30 in the Chalamain Gap area of the Cairngorms.

Police, mountain rescue teams, search and rescue dogs and an RAF helicopter were all involved in the search.

It is understood the three climbers involved were buried in the snow when rescuers found them.

Casualty lands at ARI Casualties were flown to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary

A police spokesman said no further information would be issued until formal identification had taken place and next of kin had been informed.

The Sportscotland Avalanche Information Service (SAIS) had issued forecasts for Thursday warning of a period of avalanche activity overnight in the Cairngorms and a considerable hazard throughout the day.

The Chalamain Gap is a deep, rocky valley in the Cairngorms, on the route from the Cairngorm ski road to the Lairig Ghru.

Nine other climbers in the party were unhurt and walked off the mountain.

‘Tragic event’

This is the latest in a series of avalanche incidents in the Scottish Highlands in the past few weeks.

Four experienced climbers were killed in an avalanche in Glencoe on 19 January. Two of their party survived, with one suffering serious injuries.

That incident was described as a “tragic event” by the chairman of the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland Jonathan Hart.

Two climbers escaped unhurt after being caught in a snow slide in Coire an Lochain, also in the Cairngorms, on the same weekend.

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) said there were 52 fatalities on Scotland’s mountains in 2011. Of those, 21 were climbing related. The year before, there were 45 fatalities in total, with 16 of those mountaineering related.

Privatising Search and Rescue

The Airdrie Rambler

SAR

The UK Government is currently looking to replace the existing Search and Rescue (SAR) service, run by a combination of RAF, Royal Navy and Coastguard helicopters, with a privatised version. At the moment the UK Government is seeking companies to tender for the contract. As taxpayers we already pay for the existing SAR service, and if privatised we will pay for the new one as well, albeit the work will be carried out by a private contractor. To me it is a dangerous and unnecessary move. Unfortunately, as this was proposed by Labour and is now being pursued by the Tories, I’d say it was likely that this will be implemented, unless there is a real uproar caused amongst voters themselves, as happened with the proposals to sell off woodlands in England and Wales.

One thing that is stopping that is, in my view, that many people are mixing up…

View original post 630 more words

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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New search and rescue helicopter base to be considered

Wales Air Forum

RAF Sea King mountain rescue helicopterBy Hywel Trewyn

PLANS for a new helicopter search and rescue base are to be considered – despite the Government throwing out a bid by the applicants to run a new UK-wide service.

The Government wants to privatise the search and rescue (SAR) helicopter service such as the one presently at RAF Valley, Anglesey, and turn it into a civilian-only operation by 2016 when the existing Sea King helicopters will retire.

This is despite protestations by the Duke of Cambridge, a search and rescue pilot, who works at Valley.

Last year the Government invited bidders to run the service. It said 10 unnamed bases would be used, leaving the possibility RAF Valley would not be selected.

In November, British Columbia-based CHC submitted a bid to build a hangar and accommodation for 30 (SAR) crew at Caernarfon airport, Dinas Dinlle, Gwynedd.

The application will be discussed at a Gwynedd Council planning…

View original post 146 more words

RAF TRAINING: Operational low flying training timetable January 13

Wales Air Forum

The table below sets out the timetable for use of the Central Wales Tactical Training Areas (TTA) for operational low flying training by fast jets and Hercules transport aircraft. Operational low flying by fixed wing aircraft between 250ft and 100ft is a more representative altitude at which pilots would actually fly in a combat scenario. The final decision to use a TTA is taken on the day itself as this kind of training can only take place when there is good visibility from cloud; while it is likely a number of the slots will not be used, no additional times will be added to those already booked.

When a TTA is active, ‘routine’ low flying can take place down to 500 ft. When the TTA is not in use low flying training is permitted down to 250 ft and helicopters down to ground level. Late spring and summer are the…

View original post 123 more words

Myanmar: Team to start dig for buried WW2 Spitfires, believed in good condition in crates – 040113 2235Z

Latest at bottom of page

Myanmar signs deal to begin excavation of British Spitfire fighter planes from World War II

Myanmar has signed a deal with a British aviation enthusiast to allow the excavation of a World War II treasure: dozens of Spitfire fighter planes buried by the British almost 70 years ago.

Aviation enthusiast David J. Cundall discovered the locations of the aircraft after years of searching. The planes are believed to be in good condition, since they were reportedly packed in crates and hidden by British forces to keep them out of the hands of invading Japanese.

The British Embassy said Wednesday that the agreement was reached after discussions between President Thein Sein and British Prime Minister David Cameron during his visit to Myanmar earlier this year.

The excavation of the rare planes is slated to begin by the end of October.

– washingtonpost.com (Link to full story)

Credit: @WilliamsJon

04 Jan 2913:

Burma Spitfires: Team To Start Dig For Lost Planes

Experts hope to dig up a hoard of planes from a jungle in Burma and restore them so they can fly at UK airshows.

By Tom Parmenter, Sky News Correspondent

“A British team is preparing to fly out to Burma in an attempt to recover a hoard of “lost” World War Two Spitfire planes.

Aviation archaeologists believe 36 of the famous aircraft were buried in 1945 and have not been disturbed since.

Lincolnshire farmer David Cundall has spent over 15 years trying to pinpoint their location and then organise everything needed for a careful archaeological dig.

Mr Cundall told Sky News that he believed the planes were buried at the end of the war.

He said: “We have eyewitnesses who actually saw them being buried. The war was over so somebody gave the order to dig a big hole and bury them.”

Mr Cundall said the planes were buried “at depth” and so would not be corroded by oxygen.

“I’m totally convinced that they will be restorable. We want to restore them to flying condition so we can see them flying at air shows in three years time.”

The Spitfires were flown out to the Far East to support the Burma campaign towards the end of the war but were never actually used in conflict.

The team believe they are buried 10 metres underground on the site of Rangoon International Airport

On a visit to the country last year Prime Minister David Cameron signed an agreement with Burmese authorities to co-operate on the project.

The excavation is due to start next week.

Project Archaeologist Andy Brockman said: “This a rigorous, evidence-driven archaeological process – we are solving the mystery of what happened. It is a fascinating mystery.”

The team will make an announcement about their findings later in January.” – Sky News

Full story and video: Burma Spitfires – Team To Start Dig For Lost Planes

Related:

Battle of Britain Day – Tribute to the RAF (the few) – Updated 20 Sept 2012

Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (RAFBBMF)

Duke of Cambridge takes part in search mission from RAF Valley

Wales Air Forum

Prince William at the controls of an RAF Sea King helicopterThe Duke of Cambridge has taken part in a search mission to rescue a man swept into the sea in gale-force winds.

William, an RAF Search and Rescue helicopter pilot, was called out with crewmates from his base at RAF Valley on Anglesey to help locate the man.

The 41-year-old was reportedly walking his dog in Blackpool with another man when the pair ended up in the water just after midnight on New Year’s Day.

The Duke used the lights from his Sea King helicopter to help RNLI and Coastguard crews from Blackpool and Lytham St Annes look for the dog walker in the water.

Stuart Atkinson, watch manager at Crosby Coastguard station, said yesterday: “We received a call at 12.13am from Lancashire Police reporting that a male was in the water near the South Pier at Blackpool.

“A second male had been in the water but managed to get…

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Wales Air Forum

Behind-the-scenes pictures of the Duke of Cambridge working as a helicopter search and rescue pilot have been released for the first time today.

The pictures show a typical “day in the life” for William in his work flying RAF Sea King helicopters from their base at RAF Valley on Anglesey.

From planning and preparing for any emergency callout to resting with his colleagues during “downtime”, the exclusive pictures give an insight into the life of Flight Lieutenant Wales in his day job as a search and rescue (SAR) pilot.

Prince William at work at RAF Valley

William may be a royal, but he works the same 24-hour shifts as the rest of his four-man crew.

Each morning starts with a briefing from the off-going duty crew, including an engineering brief, an update on specific air and ground activities in the area, and local and national weather forecasts.

From the moment the crew start their shift, they are…

View original post 495 more words

RAF TRAINING: Operational low flying training timetable November 12

Wales Air Forum

The table below sets out the timetable for use of the Central Wales Tactical Training Areas (TTA) for operational low flying training by fast jets and Hercules transport aircraft. Operational low flying by fixed wing aircraft between 250ft and 100ft is a more representative altitude at which pilots would actually fly in a combat scenario. The final decision to use a TTA is taken on the day itself as this kind of training can only take place when there is good visibility from cloud; while it is likely a number of the slots will not be used, no additional times will be added to those already booked.

When a TTA is active, ‘routine’ low flying can take place down to 500 ft. When the TTA is not in use low flying training is permitted down to 250 ft and helicopters down to ground level. Late spring and summer are the…

View original post 123 more words