Bond SAR crew wins Edward and Maisie Lewis Award

Bond SAR crew wins Edward and Maisie Lewis Award

1-Oct-2013 Source: Bond Offshore Helicopters

A Bond Offshore Helicopters (Bond) Search and Rescue (SAR) crew has received an award for its key role in a dramatic North Sea rescue last December. The Edward and Maisie Lewis award honours SAR winchmen, winch operators and pilots who have shown outstanding skill and courage in carrying out an air/sea rescue.

As part of a multi-agency rescue effort coordinated by the Coastguard, one of Bond’s SAR aircraft was first to reach the stricken rig standby vessel, Vos Sailor. Despite extremely poor weather and sea conditions, Captain Graham Stein and First Officer Nick Smalley were able to manoeuvre close enough to allow Winchman Andrew Cowx to land on the deck of the stricken vessel. Winch Operator Paul Walters was then able to winch eight members of the ship’s crew to safety, while Cowx voluntarily stayed on board for an hour to manage the eventual rescue of the remaining three crew members.

The Vos Sailor had lost all power after being hit by a wave, which meant that rescue operations had to be conducted in the dark, and with considerable heave and roll of the vessel. Cowx had also badly injured his foot whilst being lowered onto the vessel. Before rescue aircraft arrived on the scene, one member of the Vos Sailor crew had unfortunately lost their life.

The Edward and Maisie Lewis Award recognises outstanding air/sea rescues, and is made annually by the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society. The award will be presented by Admiral Sir Peter Abbott GBE KCB, President of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, in a ceremony later today in central London.

Members of the same Bond crew won another major bravery award, the Billy Deacon SAR Memorial Trophy, back in March this year.

Managing Director of Bond Offshore Helicopters Luke Farajallah said: “I am delighted and extremely proud that the life-saving work that Bond does has been recognised. Amidst some of the most challenging conditions imaginable, our four-man crew performed their duties with courage, composure and selflessness”.

Bond has been providing SAR services in the North Sea since 2006, during which time it has flown over 330 rescue missions. Bond’s offshore SAR operation comprises two dedicated, specially-modified Eurocopter Super Puma AS332L2 Mark II helicopters under a long-term contract with BP to provide 24-hour airborne SAR and medical evacuation in a unique UK BP North Sea initiative known as Jigsaw.  One of the high-specification, twin-engine aircraft is based at Sumburgh Airport, Shetland, the other on BP’s Miller platform, in the central North Sea.

About Bond Offshore Helicopters

Bond Offshore Helicopters provides energy support services for the oil and gas industry, and Search and Rescue support, in the central and northern North Sea and west of Shetland.

Bond Offshore Helicopters is part of the Avincis Group. Avincis is the world’s leading provider of mission critical aviation services. Last year, Avincis companies flew over 108,500 hours, conducted over 50,600 emergency health care missions, rescued more than 8,600 people at sea or on mountains, helped to put out over 7,800 fires and carried around 175,900 passengers in the oil and gas industries.

Avincis has a global footprint, which includes the UK, Spain, Italy, France, Portugal, Ireland, Norway, Australia, Chile and Peru. The Group operates around 350 aircraft and employs almost 3,000 people worldwide. The Group is headquartered in London.

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