Era Group Inc. (NYSE: ERA) (Era) is pleased to announce its Search and Rescue (SAR) Program (“EraSAR”), operating in the Gulf of Mexico, has reached its 500 mission milestone. Since the initial implementation in August 2010, the program has experienced continuous growth supporting a primary membership group consisting of its initial customer, Anadarko, followed by several other oil and gas companies, including, among others, Shell Oil, Fieldwood Energy (formerly Apache), and Statoil. To date, more than 60 oil and gas and energy service companies have utilized this service. Annual mission completions have grown on an average of 28% per year, averaging 21 missions per month.
“It’s been great to see the program grow and expand throughout the years. It’s only due to the collaboration of the oil and gas companies and the hard work and professionalism of the crews that make this possible. We never wish that anyone should need to use the service, but they all sleep better at night knowing that we are available and ready should they need us,” said Paul White, Era Senior Vice President, Domestic.
Over 300,000 people support the Gulf of Mexico oilfield to operate over 3,400 oil and gas facilities. Since 2007, federal regulators report that there have been 40 fatalities, 790 fires/explosions and 1,887 injuries. With this type of volume, oil and gas companies have turned to commercial aviation operators to address emergency response needs. As a result, the EraSAR/Priority 1 Air Rescue (P1AR) team was born.
“As we see additional SAR opportunities both here and abroad,” said Sten Gustafson, Era’s Chief Executive Officer, “we have chosen to elevate our emphasis on developing these opportunities by creating a focused SAR service line.” This SAR service line will be led by Director of SAR, Earl Hitzman, Jr., who joined Era as a SAR pilot in 2012 following a 22-year career serving our country in the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force. While in the Air Force, Hitzman served in the illustrious US Air Force Combat Rescue unit, where he was involved in complex combat rescue operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
The EraSAR/P1AR team, based on the Gulf coast of Louisiana and Texas, is comprised of four EMD-certified medical dispatchers, 16 IFR, NVG, air ambulance, and hoist-qualified pilots, and 36 medically-qualified rescue specialists, including paramedics, hoist system operators, and rescue swimmers. Operating three SAR-configured AW139 Air Ambulances in support of the offshore oil and gas industry, the team specializes in providing long-range advanced life support and SAR services anywhere within the Gulf of Mexico, day or night. Adding to the aircraft’s basic SAR capabilities are enhancements to include a Goodrich dual hoist system, night vision, integrated auto hover with search pattern modes, Nightsun and Forward Looking Infrared Imaging System (FLIR).
“Our partnership with Priority 1 Air Rescue, an internationally-recognized leader in SAR services, combined with our state-of-the-art equipped AW139s — aircraft which exceed the latest safety standards — make EraSAR the ‘go to’ solution for companies and their employees operating in the Gulf of Mexico. The 500 mission milestone is truly a testament to that status, and we hope to grow that business through the enhanced focus afforded by the creation of our SAR service line,” said Gustafson. The SAR specialization allows EraSAR/P1AR to offer medical treatment to locations previously unreachable. By combining Air Ambulance and SAR capabilities, EraSAR/P1AR has essentially made offshore facilities accessible by medical standards. EraSAR/P1AR provides the complete Advanced Life Support medical package, including critical care, fluid resuscitation, advanced airway, pain management, and cardiac monitoring. With an operational reach now pushing 250 nautical miles offshore, this combination of medical capability, delivery options, and extended range has significantly improved offshore safety.
Although this service is commonly available throughout the European Union, EraSAR/P1AR is one of the first to introduce Helicopter Hoist HEMS to North America. As a pioneer, Era is leading the effort to develop a regulatory framework necessary to ensure safety and quality. EraSAR/P1AR’s capabilities are available to support local, state, and Federal efforts during times of crisis, including challenges posed by storms and other disasters. EraSAR/P1AR offers a powerful tool available to support lifesaving efforts throughout the Gulf of Mexico region and beyond.
In February 2013, EraSAR/P1AR received national exposure on CNN when they delivered over 10,000 pounds of supplies to 4,229 people in need of food and water on the crippled cruise liner, Carnival Triumph. This was accomplished through more than 100 hoists over a six hour period in 10-15 foot seas and high winds.
About Era Group Inc.
Era Group Inc. is one of the largest helicopter operators in the world and the longest serving helicopter transport operator in the U.S. In addition to servicing its U.S. customers, Era also provides helicopters and related services to third-party helicopter operators and customers in other countries, including Brazil, Canada, India, Mexico, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Uruguay. Era’s helicopters are primarily used to transport personnel to, from and between offshore installations, drilling rigs and platforms.
About Priority 1 Air Rescue
Priority 1 Air Rescue, commonly referred to as the “One Stop SAR Shop” is focused on Helicopter SAR, Emergency Medical Services and Tactical Spec-Ops and is a proven industry-leader providing FAA compliant Helicopter Rescue Training, Helicopter Search and Rescue products, and total SAR program support services on Eurocopter, AgustaWestland, Sikorsky, MDHI, and Bell type Helicopters. Its Class D Human External Cargo Hoist Rescue Training has been provided to more than 3500 SAR Pilots, Rescue Technicians and SAR Aircrew worldwide in all environments. In addition to its full time instructor training and support staff, Priority 1 Air Rescue provides full time Hoist System Operators, Helicopter Rescue Swimmers and Paramedics for SAR/Medevac programs requiring 24/7, 365 days coverage on federal/state/commercial contracts worldwide. For more information visit us at: