New Coastguard helicopters have now undertaken 50 operational Search And Rescue missions since their introduction.

New Coastguard helicopters have now undertaken 50 operational Search And Rescue (SAR) missions since their introduction began last October. The new Sikorsky S-92 helicopters are based in the Shetland Islands at Stornoway and Sumburgh and are operated for the MCA by CHC Helicopter Corporation.

Tasks carried out by the new helicopters have included the rescue of 14 men from a fishing vessel after it ran aground in heavy seas on St Kilda, down manning of a North Sea platform, and several medical evacuations. Dave Jardine-Smith, Head of SAR or the MCA, said, “The St Kilda rescue, performed in atrocious weather and sea conditions, represented the biggest challenge to the new service to date.”

The contract awarded to CHC by the MCA will also see new aircraft, the AW139, introduced at the MCA’s two other SAR bases, at Lee-on-Solent and Portland on the south coast of England, over the coming months.