Coastguard calls passing of search and rescue milestone a "major achievement"

Portland’s search and rescue helicopter base has launched its 3000th mission, 14 years after the first rescue mission was flown.

The milestone was passed when the base’s current aircraft was scrambled to assist Dorset Police in a search for a missing person at Christchurch.

The AgustaWestland AW139 helicopter at Portland is on standby 12 hours per day, from 9am until 9pm.

SAR cover outside those hours is provided by coastguard helicopters from Lee-on-the-Solent and RAF Sea Kings from Chivenor in North Devon.

“The passing of this milestone is a major achievement for the MCA,” said chief coastguard Rod Johnson.

“Our helicopters and their crews have provided superb service for us over many years and are absolutely integral to the search and rescue infrastructure that exists in this country.”