Stornoway Coastguard rescue helicopter has recorded its busiest ever year after clocking up in excess of 200 callouts in 2010.
It is the first time the rescue helicopter team has reached the milestone figure for missions in any one year, traditionally clocking up an average of 136 callouts between January 1 and December 31. Since the introduction of the new technology S92 helicopters in 2007 however this has risen to an average of 190.
Leading search and rescue (SAR) service provider CHC Helicopter has operated the service for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in the UK since 2007 from four bases at Stornoway, Sumburgh, Lee on Solent and Portland. Through its membership of the Soteria consortium, it 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.
Ian McLuskie, UK SAR Business Unit Leader at CHC said: “The past three years have been the busiest we’ve ever had in terms of callouts and this is due to the capability of the S92 aircraft which are able to fly faster and further than those previously in use.
“This increased operating range and speed allows us to get to locations quicker, the overall result is a reduction in the time taken to rescue and get medical aid to those in need. This has allowed the unit to be called out to a greater number of jobs throughout the year, bringing the search and rescue service to a greater number of people and helping to save many more lives.”
The Stornoway unit conducted its 200th mission on December 10th when rescue helicopter R100 was scrambled to evacuate a 57-year-old female who required urgent hospital treatment after experiencing breathing difficulties. The patient was transferred to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.