Displaying items by tag: Search and Rescue
Helicopter crews with the Irish Coast Guard have been awarded full air ambulance status more than a year ahead of schedule, The Irish Times reports.
Under the upgrade, there will be at least one trained paramedic on board any search and rescue flight whether inland or at sea. Previously they operated at 'emergency medical technician' level.
Paramedic status allows trained crews to give injections and administer advanced techniques to clear airways or treat cardiac arrest.
Transport Minister Pat Carey, who comfirmed the move, said: "“The introduction of new technology and the improved paramedic level of care will see quite a significant improvement in capabilities.”
The Canadian company that provides search and rescue helicopter services for the Coast Guard has reported a €1.5 million operating loss in the 2009-2010 fiscal year, according to the Irish Independent.
CHC Ireland, the local division of the world's largest helicopter services company, operates search and rescue services out of Dublin, Shannon, Waterford and Sligo.
Directors of the firm, which employs more than 100 nationwide, noted that the loss - coming after a €3.2 million loss in the previous financial year - was reduced due to the closure of its Cork base and lower aircraft leasing costs.
Last year the Government awarded CHC a new 10-year contract worth €500 million to operate search and rescue services, despite proposals from the Air Corps that it could provide the same service at a much lower rate.
The Irish Independent reported recently that one of the world's top helicopter makers has denied claims made by the Coast Guard that the Air Corps does not have the equipment to undertake search and rescue operations.
AgustaWestland, which supplies the main helicopter used by the Air Corps, disputed allegations by Coast Guard director Chris Reynolds that the AW139 had not earned a "good reputation" elsewhere.
A new blog has been setup by fans of Irish SAR teams that has the latest SAR info and live audio streams of marine band comms. The latest rescue updates are available on the Twitter hashtag #ircg and the Blog site is irishsar.blogspot.com. Check it out HERE.
The search continues for one of the two-man crew of a Donegal lobster boat that sank off the Inishowen peninsula yesterday morning.
The Irish Times reports that the body of 65-year-old Edward Doherty was recovered from the sea yesterday. His nephew, 41-year-old Robert McLaughlin, was still missing last night when the search was suspended due to bad weather.
The pair's vessel, the 26ft Jennifer, was retrieved by divers south of Malin Head, close to Glengad pier.
In a tragic mirror of the weekend's rescue of two young fishermen off the Co Mayo coast, it's believed that Doherty and McLaughlin had similarly cast off to check on pots.
Malin Head marine rescue centre dispatched the Irish Coast Guard's Sligo-based Sikorsky search-and-rescue helicopter and the RNLI's Lough Swilly and Portrush all-weather lifeboats when the alarm was raised early yesterday.
Some 20 local vessels also joined the search, though they were impeded by heavy rain and choppy seas.
The Marine Casualty Investigation Board is expected to investigate the incident, which is the second in the area in less than three years.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.
Irish Times reporter Laurence Mackin spent a day with the Howth Coast Guard, and discovers their vital, voluntary work can be distressing as well as rewarding. His feature piece is well worth a read and is published HERE.
The new SAR contract signed by Minister Dempsey this morning will se CHCI provide five Helicopters that are four Prime Helicopters and a Back Up Helicopter based initially at Shannon Airport. The first S92A will be commissioned at Shannon in the second half of 2012.
The Helicopters are maintained at a state of readiness of not more than 15 minutes from 0830 to 2200 local time, and not more than 45 minutes from 2200 to 0830 local time for each and every day of every year.
Possible Taskings include:
Undertaking SAR operations by day and night, including landing at remote inland areas and hospital landing sites for the purpose of lifting and delivering casualties.
Providing Paramedic-trained and accredited rear crew to assist and evacuate casualties and potential casualties from the sites of appropriate major emergencies on land, including flooding and providing an onboard emergency medical service.
Delivering trained Fire Brigade personnel and trained fire fighting teams with their equipment to ships at sea to direct the fighting of fires. The standard team consists of six personnel and six bags (a total of 900 kg) and must be carried in a single lift.
Delivering trained Health Service Executive (HSE) Marine Ambulance Response Teams (MART) or a similarly equipped and trained medical response team to ships at sea while equipped with Standard Role Equipment and relevant Carry-On Equipment.
Delivering a contractor-owned and maintained pump to vessels that are taking in water faster than their own pumps can handle.
Delivering a normal mountain or cliff rescue team to remote areas throughout Ireland and working with them in the search and rescue of stranded and/or injured people.
Recovering casualties from and operating with RNLI and other rescue boat operators.
Providing an emergency service for the communities on the islands off the west coast. As well as evacuating sick and injured people where life is at risk. The Helicopters may also be tasked to provide assistance in the event of major emergencies such as a fire, flood or deep snow.
Visually assessing, videoing, photographing and sampling marine pollution to assist the containment and dispersion process and to contribute evidence for prosecution and attending court if required.
Carrying loads within the Helicopter's capability, such as equipment to counter marine pollution and flooding.
Carrying ships' pilots and IRCG coordinated search, response, emergency or investigation personnel to and from vessels, installations, incident sites and islands as required.
Assisting the Principal Response Agencies (Garda, HSE, and local authorities), Defence Forces and other Government Departments as required in emergency situations.
Delivering Garda, Navy or similar Water Unit Minimum Dive Teams and their equipment in a single lift to a land destination near the scene of water rescues.
Provide a distress monitoring, and when necessary a communication and coordination service on VHF marine frequencies when airborne.
Total helicopter hours 2500 hours
Hours in command of multi-engined helicopters 1000 hours
Hours on type 250 hours*
Hour in command on type 100 hours*
Total helicopter hours 750 hours
Hours on multi-engined helicopters 350 hours
Hours on type 50 hours
At least one year's experience as a Winch Operator on a dedicated military or civilian SAR unit and at least the EMT qualification accredited by PHECC.
At least three months experience as a Winchperson on a dedicated military or civilian SAR unit and at least the Paramedic qualification accredited by PHECC.
The S92A will:
• Hover in strong wind up to 35 knots crosswind and tailwind.
• Land, shut down and start on ground sloping up to 10 degrees nose up or down, 13 degrees laterally.
• Active Vibration Control to provide better patient care and reduce crew fatigue.
• Composite Blades providing optimised cruise and hover performance at reduced fuel burn rates.
• Modern Cockpit Display System (CDS) affording pilots with greater amounts of available information, allowing for greater safety and situational awareness.
• A 4 Axis Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS) with Flight Director and Auto Hover capability to assist aircrew by providing automated search patterns and pinpoint transitions to and from the hover targets of interest regardless of day of day of weather conditions.
The S92A has one of the largest cabins of any helicopter in its class. At twenty feet long (6.10m) 6' 6" inches feet wide (2.01m) and 6' high (1.83m) the cabin is high enough for the crew to stand, move, manoeuvre patients without injury and deliver patient care effectively.
The aircraft standard range is in the region of 270 nautical miles that can be extended to over 300 nautical miles if required that allows for 30 minutes on scene and can lift over 20 survivors at maximum range. At 60 nautical miles 33 survivors can be recovered.
Maximum speed is in excess of 150 knots.
The Rotor Ice Protection System allows flight in icing conditions up to a maximum of 10,000 ft. The system also includes engine anti-icing through electrical and bleed air heating.
The contract, will provide SAR services from bases at Waterford, Dublin, Shannon and Sligo from 2012 onwards. CHC already provides SAR services from these bases but the new contract will see the existing fleet of S-61N aircraft replaced with newer Sikorsky S-92A helicopters that are custom fitted for SAR work.
Irish Coast Guard Director Chris Reynolds said, "The Irish Coast Guard provides a diverse range of maritime and land-based SAR activities, ranging from national emergency situations such as the recent flooding seen in Ireland last winter to medevac from our Islands, mountains, fishing vessels and incidents involving leisure activity."
"It is essential we have the right stepped increase in capabilities going forward for the next decade. We are very confident in selecting CHC Helicopter that our decision will continue to deliver excellence, providing the most efficient and effective SAR service for Ireland."
The Irish contract cements CHC Helicopter's position as a world leader in provision of civilian SAR services. In addition to the service already provided in Ireland, CHC currently provides SAR coverage in Australia and the UK, and through its membership in the Soteria consortium, has been identified as the preferred bidder on the UK SAR-H program, a 25-year contract to provide helicopter-based SAR services from 12 bases throughout the UK.
"CHC is internationally recognised as a provider of effective SAR solutions to customers worldwide. In today's very challenging environment, we offer the most efficient, reliable and effective services using industry leading technology," said Tilmann Gabriel, chairman of CHC Ireland and president of CHC Helicopter's European Operations.
Mark Kelly, Managing Director of CHC Ireland, added that Irish citizens could now expect to see many positive changes arise.
"Over the next decade this contract will offer a number of service improvements including the ability to deliver a paramedic to any SAR incident within an hour anywhere on our coastline, ensuring much faster treatment of casualties," he said.
CHC is the world's largest operator of the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter that has a long and distinguished pedigree in SAR operations. There are currently more than 100 S-92 helicopters in operation around the world with a fleet total approaching 250,000 flight-hours.
The state-of-the-art twin-engine aircraft will be specially equipped for SAR operations and capable of flying faster and farther than aircraft currently in use. As well as longer range and improved cruising speeds, the S-92s will be equipped with enhanced rescue mission technology including infra-red and low light cameras, a Nightsun searchlight, a satellite communications system featuring a Flight Following tracking facility, and high speed dual hoists.
Tomorrow, Thursday, 22nd July 2010, Transport Minister, Noel Dempsey T.D., will sign a contract awarding the provision of Helicopter SAR services to CHC Ireland. The company will use the new Sikorsky S92A machine in its SAR role.
The crew of an emergency search and rescue helicopter has been awarded the Best of Irish Award for rescuing a stricken pilot when his light aircraft crashed into the Irish Sea.
The six-strong crew of R117, employed by CHC Helicopter and based at Waterford, was presented with the accolade at the awards which took place at the Burlington Hotel in Dublin last night.
The star-studded ceremony, which also saw the Irish Rugby team recognised for their outstanding win at the 2009 RBS Six Nations tournament, celebrates those who have excelled in the past year and contributed in a positive way to the people of Ireland.
Captain Dara Fitzpatrick, co-pilot Ronan Flanagan, winch operator Neville Murphy and winchman Keith Devaney were all present to collect the award. The remaining members of the team, engineers Martin Dennehy and Colm McCloughry, were unable to attend.
“We are delighted and honoured to have been presented with this award which is really the cherry on the cake for us,” said Capt Fitzpatrick.
“When you hear a report of an aircraft ditching in the sea you immediately think worst-case scenario. We didn’t know what we were facing so to have been able to retrieve a casualty alive from the water was fantastic.”
The team was returning from a training exercise when they were alerted to a mayday call at around 5pm on August 11, last year.
The crew the British Orchid Atlantic rowing boat, who were navigating round Britain, called the Coast Guard after seeing an aircraft crash into the water at Tuskar Rock, off the South Wexford coast.
Low on fuel, the S61 rescue helicopter quickly landed, refuelled and was on route to the scene within 10 minutes. As they made their way to the location, reports were received of wreckage in the water and a suspected survivor.
On arrival, they saw the pilot standing waist-deep in water on the wing of the stricken craft which was rapidly succumbing to the waves. Winchman Keith Devaney was lowered down and was able to secure the man and winch him to safety moments before the single-engine aircraft sank.
The sole occupant of the plane, which was being flown from England to Wexford, the pilot was flown to shore and taken by ambulance to hospital. Despite his ordeal, he had miraculously escaped serious injury.
“In terms of technical challenges we have had to deal with some far tougher jobs,” added Capt Fitzpatrick.
“We were fortunate that the conditions were relatively calm and that the pilot hadn’t suffered any serious injuries on impact. Combined with the extensive mission training we undergo, these factors made for a textbook rescue.”
Chris Reynolds, Director of the Irish Coast Guard said: “I am pleased to see the men and women of the Irish Coast Guard recognised for their professionalism. The service operates 365 days a year in all types of conditions and this award is testament to the continued hard work, training and commitment of the whole team.”
Noel Dempsey, Ireland’s Minister for Transport, also praised the team for their heroic efforts.
“I warmly congratulate the Waterford Coast Guard helicopter crew, for a very well-deserved award,” he said.
“The speed at which they responded to this incident, assessed the scene and acted, certainly helped save a life. But this award isn't just for the crew on the Waterford helicopter that day though.
“It's for all of their backroom team, including the engineers who ensure that our aircrafts are safe to fly, our replacement crews, and everyone who supports the work of the Waterford team, and all our other teams around the country.
“Each day hundreds of Coast Guard crews, whether in lifeboats, helicopters or involved in our other patrols around the coastline, selflessly put their lives at risk in the service of others.
“I want to commend you all and thank you, on behalf of the Government for your role in this important, lifesaving work. Well done again.”