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Displaying items by tag: helicopter

The Shannon Coast Guard helicopter has medevac'ed a Spanish crewman from a trawler 120 nautical miles SSW of Mizen Head, in County Cork, one of the extreme points of the island of Ireland. 

Published in Coastguard

#Coastguard - Two callouts on St Stephen's Day brought the Irish Coast Guard's total annual helicopter rescue missions to the 1,000 mark for the first time since the service began in 1991, as RTÉ News reports.

Sligo's Rescue 118 had its 343rd mission of the year on Saturday 26 December when it airlifted a young boy with leg injuries, while the Shannon-based Rescue 115 was involved in a medevac from the Aran Islands, taking a pregnant woman to Galway University Hospital for its 330th response.

In the East, the coastguard crew of Waterford's Rescue 117 saw 179 missions this year, while Dublin's Rescue 116 embarked on 148 since January as of yesterday (Sunday 27 December).

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard

#solosailing – It seems there's nothing a helicopter can't handle in terms of recovery, even in a worst case scenario like the one above.This successful salvage lift of a Pogo 2 Mini 6.50 was completed at Bovisands beach on the east side of Plymouth Sound in Devon, England. That's a 430 kilogram keel too! 

Published in Solo Sailing
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#RNLI - Three bodies have been recovered from the water after a helicopter with 18 people on board crashed in the North Sea last night (Friday 23 August).

RNLI lifeboats from Aith and Lerwick in the Shetland Isles have spent the night involved in a multi-agency rescue operation, following reports that a helicopter had ditched into the sea west of Sumburgh airport.

It's believed the helicopter, a Super Puma L2, was carrying 16 passengers and two crew from the Borgsten Dolphin oil platform in the North Sea.

Both volunteer lifeboat crews made their way to the scene throughout the evening and assisted in the search for passengers with other agencies, including two coastguard rescue helicopters, a passenger ferry and a cargo vessel.

Fourteen people were rescued while the lifeboats were still making their way to the scene.

But early this morning Police Scotland conformed that three bodies had been recovered, two of which were recovered by Lerwick RNLI lifeboat and taken to a nearby pier. Work is now underway to recover the fourth individual.

A spokesperson for the RNLI said: "Sadly the bodies of three people have been recovered in the aftermath of yesterday’s crash, and we know that agencies are working to recover the body of the fourth person.

"We can confirm that the RNLI lifeboat crew from Lerwick lifeboat station recovered two of those people. The lifeboat crew transported them to Sumburgh and we are liaising with other authorities as things develop.

"Obviously this is the news that everyone, included our lifeboat volunteers, dreaded – our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of those four people. We can also confirm that one of our lifeboats has also been involved in reclaiming wreckage from the scene as part of the operation."

The wreckage of the helicopter is in a fairly inaccessible position near cliffs, and weather conditions at the time were described as not particularly good.

Lerwick RNLI lifeboat managed to tow the wreckage off rocks and it was being held in the shelter of a bay until a recovery operation could commence.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Coastguard - Last Friday 9 August, the Shannon-based search and rescue helicopter Rescue 115 flew its first missions with an all-female flight crew in pilot Captain Dara Fitzpatrick and co-pilot Captain Carmel Kirby.  

Capt Fitzpatrick is the chief pilot for Rescue 117 at the Waterford base and was on transfer to Shannon to build up flying hours on the new helicopter type, the Sikorsky S92, which is due to replace the S61 in Waterford in mid-September.

Capt Kirby, meanwhile, is scheduled to become the manager of flight operations for all the helicopter SAR bases later this year.

This was a historic occasion for the Irish Coast Guard as this was the first all-female SAR chopper crew, and they carried out two missions on their shift – one a cardiac case from West Cork who is recovering well at Cork University Hospital, the other a aero-medical transfer from Cork University Hospital to Temple Street of a critically ill five-year-old child.

Coastguard statistics show a 45% rise in the number of incidents to 1,572 missions by the end of July this year, and the total is expected to break 2,000 as early as October - more than any individual year since records began.

Aside from the good weather that's brought so many more people out on the water than usual, another factor in this increase is the trial aeromedical service for the HSE - with air ambulance missions up a whopping 925% this year.

The Shannon rescue helicopter has so far flown an incredible 187 missions, more than double the number it had flown in the first eight months of 2012.

Published in Coastguard
Tagged under

#Coastguard - What would have been the Irish Coast Guard's longest ever rescue mission was stood down at the last minute after the casualty in question was deemed to be in a stable condition.

According to the Irish Independent, the Shannon-based coastguard rescue helicopter was dispatched on the 300-nautical-mile mission to retrieve a man in his 70s from a cruise liner en route to Cobh from the United States.

The distance was so great that the helicopter, the new Sikorsky S-92 with the call sign Rescue 115, was forced to land on an offshore oil rig 180km off Kerry to refuel.

While there the chopper experienced a technical issue and was grounded for safety reasons while an engineer was sent to the oil rig on board Waterford's Rescue 117.

However, in the meantime a second doctor on board the MS Marina determined that the patient - who was feared to have had a stroke - was in a stable enough condition to be transferred to hospital upon the ship's arrival in Cobh early today.

The Irish Examiner confirms that the casualty was a 79-year-old American.

Published in Coastguard

#Coastguard - The Irish Coast Guard's Waterford-based rescue helicopter recovered two casualties in separate incidents on Sunday, according to the Irish Examiner.

One fisherman was retrieved from the French fishing vessel Larche some 50 nautical miles south of Cork after complaining of chest pains and difficulty breathing.

The man was winched on board coastguard helicopter Rescue 117 and transferred to hospital in Cork for treatment.

In a separate incident, a hillwalker was airlifted from Slievenamon in Tipperary after suffering leg injuries in a fall - the second such accident in the area over the weekend.

Published in Coastguard

#DIVING - BBC News reports that a man suspected to be suffering from 'the bends' after a dive in Galway was treated in Northern Ireland at the weekend.

The diver was airlifted to the decompression chamber in Craigavon by Irish Coast Guard helicopter as there was no medical team available at the closest facility in Galway.

Decompression sickness - commonly known as 'the bends' - was suspected after the man's rapid ascent from a 22-metres dive in Killary Harbour on Sunday.

Published in Diving

#TITANIC - The Titanic memorial cruise was yesterday forced to turn back just 100 miles from the southwest coast of Ireland after a passenger fell ill, BBC News reports.

The Irish Coast Guard rescue helicopter at Shannon was dispached to the MS Balmoral to retrieve BBC cameraman Tim Rex, 56, who was struck by a non-life threatening heart condition, according to the Irish Independent.

Rex, who was covering the memorial sailing for the BBC, was treated by ship's doctors before being airlifted to hospital as a precaution.

The emergency happened just hours after the ship departed Cobh, the last port of call of the ill-fated Titanic before it sank in the North Atlantic on 14 April 1912.

A spokesperson for Titanic Memorial Cruises confirmed that despite the delay, the ship is still on schedule and is expected to arrive at the Titanic wreck site as planned on Saturday.

Published in Titanic

#COASTGUARD - Canada's L-3 Wescam has announced it will be providing electro-optical and infrared imaging systems for the Irish Coast Guard's revamped search and rescue helicopter fleet, starting with the new Sikorsky S-92 based at Shannon.

“This order pairs the most modern SAR helicopter with the most advanced EO/IR sensor to provide a vital capability for lifesaving missions,” said Paul Jennison, vice president of government sales and business development for L-3 Wescam.

The company describes its MXTM-15 system as a one-line replacement unit solution, which reduces installation weight by 25% and increases much-needed cabin space for transporting rescue victims.

The system’s digital infrared camera is capable of a 20% increase in visual range, allowing missions at night or in inclement weather to result in a higher search success rate.

In addition, the system comes with WESCAM’s MX-GEO Gen 3 software package which helps deliver maximum geographic location accuracy and significantly reduces operator fatigue that often arises in demanding and stressful SAR operations.

Imaging system upgrades are expected to be rolled out across the Irish Coast Guard's helicopter fleet by the end of next year.

Published in Coastguard
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Irish Coast Guard

The Irish Coast Guard is Ireland's 4th Blue Light service (along with An Garda Síochána, the Ambulance Service and the Fire Service). It provides a nationwide maritime emergency organisation as well as a variety of services to shipping and other government agencies.

The purpose of the Irish Coast Guard is to promote safety and security standards, and by doing so, prevent as far as possible, the loss of life at sea, and on inland waters, mountains and caves, and to provide effective emergency response services and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The Irish Coast Guard has responsibility for Ireland's system of marine communications, surveillance and emergency management in Ireland's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and certain inland waterways.

It is responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue and counter-pollution and ship casualty operations. It also has responsibility for vessel traffic monitoring.

Operations in respect of maritime security, illegal drug trafficking, illegal migration and fisheries enforcement are co-ordinated by other bodies within the Irish Government.

Introduction

On average, each year, the Irish Coast Guard is expected to:

  • handle 3,000 marine emergencies
  • assist 4,500 people and save about 200 lives
  • task Coast Guard helicopters on missions around 2000 times (40 times to assist mountain rescues and 200 times to carry out aeromedical HEMS missions on behalf of the HSE), Coast Guard volunteer units will respond 1000 times and RNLI and community lifeboats will be tasked by our Coordination Centres about 950 times
  • evacuate medical patients off our Islands to hospital on 100 occasions
  • assist other nations' Coast Guards about 200 times
  • make around 6,000 maritime safety broadcasts to shipping, fishing and leisure craft users
  • carry out a safety on the water campaign that targets primary schools and leisure craft users, including at sea and beach patrols
  • investigate approximately 50 maritime pollution reports

The Coast Guard has been around in some form in Ireland since 1908.

List of Coast Guard Units in Ireland

  • Achill, Co. Mayo
  • Ardmore, Co. Waterford
  • Arklow, Co. Wicklow
  • Ballybunion, Co. Kerry
  • Ballycotton, Co. Cork
  • Ballyglass, Co. Mayo
  • Bonmahon, Co. Waterford
  • Bunbeg, Co. Donegal
  • Carnsore, Co. Wexford
  • Castlefreake, Co. Cork
  • Castletownbere, Co. Cork
  • Cleggan, Co. Galway
  • Clogherhead, Co. Louth
  • Costelloe Bay, Co. Galway
  • Courtown, Co. Wexford
  • Crosshaven, Co. Cork
  • Curracloe, Co. Wexford
  • Dingle, Co. Kerry
  • Doolin, Co. Clare
  • Drogheda, Co. Louth
  • Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • Dunmore East, Co. Waterford
  • Fethard, Co. Wexford
  • Glandore, Co. Cork
  • Glenderry, Co. Kerry
  • Goleen, Co. Cork
  • Greencastle, Co. Donegal
  • Greenore, Co. Louth
  • Greystones, Co. Wicklow
  • Guileen, Co. Cork
  • Howth, Co. Dublin
  • Kilkee, Co. Clare
  • Killala, Co. Mayo
  • Killybegs, Co. Donegal
  • Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford
  • Knightstown, Co. Kerry
  • Mulroy, Co. Donegal
  • North Aran, Co. Galway
  • Old Head Of Kinsale, Co. Cork
  • Oysterhaven, Co. Cork
  • Rosslare, Co. Wexford
  • Seven Heads, Co. Cork
  • Skerries, Co. Dublin
  • Summercove, Co. Cork
  • Toe Head, Co. Cork
  • Tory Island, Co. Donegal
  • Tramore, Co. Waterford
  • Waterville, Co. Kerry
  • Westport, Co. Mayo
  • Wicklow
  • Youghal, Co. Cork

The roles of the Irish Coast Guard

The main roles of the Irish Coast Guard are to rescue people from danger at sea or on land, to organise immediate medical transport and to assist boats and ships within the country's jurisdiction.

Each year the Irish Coast Guard co-ordinates the response to thousands of incidents at sea and on the cliffs and beaches of Ireland. It does this through its Marine Rescue Centres which are currently based in:

  • Dublin
  • Malin Head (Co Donegal)
  • Valentia Island (Co Kerry).

Each centre is responsible for search and rescue operations.

The Dublin National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC) provides marine search and rescue response services and co-ordinates the response to marine casualty incidents within the Irish Pollution Responsibility Zone/EEZ.

The Marine Rescue Sub Centre (MRSC) Valentia and MRSC Malin Head are 24/7 centres co-ordinating search and rescue response in their areas of responsibility.

The Marine Rescue Sub Centre (MRSC) Valentia is the contact point for routine operational matters in the area between Ballycotton and Clifden.

MRSC Malin Head is the contact point for routine operational matters in the area between Clifden and Lough Foyle.

MRCC Dublin is the contact point for routine operational matters in the area between Carlingford Lough and Ballycotton.

Each MRCC/MRSC broadcasts maritime safety information on VHF and, in some cases, MF radio in accordance with published schedules.

Maritime safety information that is broadcast by the three Marine Rescue Sub-centres includes:

  • navigational warnings as issued by the UK Hydrographic Office
  • gale warnings, shipping forecasts, local inshore forecasts, strong wind warnings and small craft warnings as issued by the Irish Meteorological Office.

Coast Guard helicopters

The Irish Coast Guard has contracted five medium-lift Sikorsky Search and Rescue helicopters deployed at bases in Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo.

The helicopters are designated wheels up from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours and 45 minutes at night. One aircraft is fitted and its crew trained for under slung cargo operations up to 3000kgs and is available on short notice based at Waterford.

These aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains of Ireland (32 counties).

They can also be used for assistance in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and aerial surveillance during daylight hours, lifting and passenger operations and other operations as authorised by the Coast Guard within appropriate regulations.

The Coast Guard can contract specialised aerial surveillance or dispersant spraying aircraft at short notice internationally.

Helicopter tasks include:

  • the location of marine and aviation incident survivors by homing onto aviation and marine radio distress transmissions, by guidance from other agencies, and by visual, electronic and electro-optical search
  • the evacuation of survivors from the sea, and medical evacuees from all manner of vessels including high-sided passenger and cargo vessels and from the islands
  • the evacuation of personnel from ships facing potential disaster
  • search and or rescue in mountainous areas, caves, rivers, lakes and waterways
  • the transport of offshore fire-fighters (MFRTs) or ambulance teams (MARTs) and their equipment following a request for assistance
  • the provision of safety cover for other search and rescue units including other Marine Emergency Service helicopters
  • pollution, casualty and salvage inspections and surveillance and the transport of associated personnel and equipment
  • inter-agency training in all relevant aspects of the primary role
  • onshore emergency medical service, including evacuation and air ambulance tasks
  • relief of the islands and of areas suffering from flooding or deep snow

The secondary roles of the helicopter are:

  • the exercise of the primary search, rescue and evacuation roles in adjacent search and rescue regions
  • assistance to onshore emergency services, such as in the evacuation of high-rise buildings
  • public safety awareness displays and demonstrations
  • providing helicopter expertise for seminars and training courses

The Irish Coast Guard provides aeronautical assets for search and rescue in the mountains of Ireland. Requests for Irish Coast Guard assets are made to the Marine Rescue Centres.

Requests are accepted from An Garda Síochána and nominated persons in Mountain Rescue Teams.

Information courtesy of Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (July 2019)

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