Maritime and Coastguard Agency
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Busy year for Search and Rescue bases

Busy year for Search and Rescue bases

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 13 January 2010

Highest ever recorded number of missions undertaken by Stornoway team

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) helicopter search and rescue bases at Stornoway, Sumburgh, Lee On Solent and Portland completed 747 missions throughout 2009, according to figures released today.

With 183 missions undertaken across 12 months, the Stornoway team had their busiest year since search and rescue (SAR) operations began there in 1987. Sumburgh recorded its highest since the mid-1990s with 112 missions.

Lee on Solent and Portland recorded 217 and 235 respectively during 2009.

(A table showing the totals for all four bases since 1983 – 2009 is attached)

Damien Oliver, Aviation manager at the MCA said

“These impressive statistics demonstrate how demand for our Coastguard helicopters has increased from the early 1980s through to the present day. From the days of operating with the venerable Sikorsky S61s through to the present day modern AgustaWestland AW139s and Sikorsky S92s, the upward trend in successful missions demonstrates how valuable Coastguard search and rescue helicopters are to the overall search and rescue response.

“Our new helicopters, together with dedicated professional Coastguard helicopter crews and engineers, have further increased our ability to respond effectively and quickly to emergency situations at sea and on the coast.”

Ian McLuskie, CHC’s SAR business unit leader in the UK, said:

“The MCA Stornoway total is the highest yearly total recorded for that base, up 6% from 2008. This can be credited to the increased speed and capabilities the Sikorsky S92 helicopter offers and its ability to undertake a wider range of missions.

“These new technology aircraft have been repeatedly tested by a diverse range of challenging operations and have established a very impressive track record which I’m sure they will continue to build upon on 2010.”

Availability of the SAR service achieved an impressive figure of 98% for the year.

Included in the operations figures for all four bases were 52 cliff rescues, 87 medical evacuations from vessels, 43 mountain rescues, 86 missing person searches and 68 missions involving persons in the water.

(A table accompanying this press release showing figures from each base from 1983 - 2009 can be viewed by clicking on the link below)

Notes to Editors

* Stay safe - before heading out on the water get trained, check weather and tides, wear a lifejacket, avoid alcohol and keep in touch.

* The MCA is a partner in the Sea Vision UK campaign to raise awareness and understanding of the sea and maritime activities. Sea Vision promotes the importance and economic value of the sector and works to highlight the exciting range of activities and career opportunities available to young people within the UK growing maritime sector.


Maritime and Coastguard Agency Press Office
Phone: 023 8032 9401

Mark Clark.
Phone: 023 8032 9414
Mobile: 07711 002678

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