Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey yesterday congratulated an Irish Coast Guard pilot who has just completed his 500th rescue mission, becoming one of a handful of helicopter pilots in western Europe to have done so.
On July 11, operating from the Irish Coast Guard base at Waterford, Capt Rayner and his crew attended an incident 10 nautical miles east of Waterford Airport, where multiple casualties were in difficulty in the water.
On rescuing the party, one injured male was transferred to Waterford Regional Hospital for treatment. With that operation, Capt Rayner joined an elite group of SAR crewmembers who have achieved an impressive 500 rescue missions during their careers.
Ireland’s Minister for Transport, Noel Dempsey, said: "Martyn epitomises the dedication, experience and expertise that makes the Irish Coast Guard one of the best in the world. I congratulate him on his achievement of 500 rescue missions and wish to publicly commend the valuable contribution he has made, and continues to make to SAR in Ireland."
He commenced flying on the Irish Coast Guard contract in 1991 to set up the first Irish Coast Guard SAR base in Shannon Airport. Over the following 10 years Capt Rayner guided the Shannon base as chief pilot, line trainer and SAR Captain. He spent many years flying West of Shannon in all weather conditions, commanding the R115 Shannon base on missions far into the Atlantic Ocean.
“We are delighted for Martyn. This level of experience is rarely seen amongst SAR crew worldwide. We are very pleased to have the benefit of Martyn’s calibre of experience flying SAR missions around our coast,“ said Mark Kelly, managing director of CHC Ireland.
“Most SAR pilots fly an average of 20 missions per year. Martyn has been accident free for his entire career with CHC and is a shining example of our commitment to safety.”
In 2002 Capt Rayner, along with his wife Maureen, temporarily left Irish SAR for the Far East to fly offshore of Brunei. He returned to Ireland in 2005 and was welcomed with open arms to the newly established Waterford Base.
“Everyone at CHC is immensely proud of Capt Rayner’s unique achievement in reaching 500 missions. His vast experience, patience, sense of humour and knowledge of SAR is the backbone of our operation today,“ said Capt Dara Fitzpatrick, chief pilot, CHC Waterford Base.
CHC Ireland is an affiliate of CHC Helicopter through its ownership interest in EEA Helicopter Operations B.V. CHC Helicopter is the world’s largest offshore helicopter operator and provides civilian search and rescue services in Ireland, the UK, Denmark and Australia. Earlier this month another CHC SAR crew was recognized with a “Best of Irish” award for their role in successfully recovering the pilot of a light aircraft that crashed in the Irish Sea.