Bristow Celebrates First Anniversary of Search and Rescue in Northern Scotland

Bristow Celebrates First Anniversary of Search and Rescue in Northern Scotland 30 Jul, 14, Source: Bristow

Bristow Helicopters Ltd recognized its first anniversary of delivering the Gap SAR search and rescue contract from Sumburgh and Stornoway this summer.

In the first 12 months of operations, Bristow’s search and rescue crew based at Sumburgh Airport completed over 150 missions, rescued over 40 individuals, and assisted an additional 120+ persons. Bristow’s crew at Stornoway Airport completed over 160 missions, rescuing over 30 individuals, and assisting a further 100+ people.

BHL commenced operations at Sumburgh on 1 June 2013 and at Stornoway on 1 July 2013, but has a 40 year long history of delivering search and rescue services in the UK, 24 years of which saw the company operating from Sumburgh and Stornoway under the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) from 1983 – 2007.

To deliver the contract Bristow introduced four state of the art Sikorsky S-92 helicopters with a radius of over 250 nautical miles and equipped with the latest SAR technology including night vision, mission management and increased on-board medical capabilities.

Mike Imlach, managing director of Bristow Helicopters Ltd, said: “Our new Sikorsky S-92 search and rescue aircraft have performed extremely well and have proven themselves adept to the wide range of conditions and operational requirements we encounter in the region. As ever we are proud to be delivering this long running and vital service and we hope that the work of our crews has been of value to the communities they serve.”

In November 2013 Bristow held a special event to celebrate 30 years of search and rescue at Sumburgh and to acknowledge the dedication and bravery of the helicopter teams who have helped to deliver it. The unit was presented with the Coastguard Meritorious Award by the MCA. Earlier this year saw one of the Sumburgh aircraft affectionately named Oscar Charlie in honour of the Sikorsky S61N helicopter which served the northern islands for 23 years.

Bristow is in the process of expanding its search and rescue operations across the UK as it prepares to take over the UK-wide search and rescue contract on behalf of the MCA next year. Bristow will deliver the service from ten strategically located bases across the UK using a fleet of S-92 and AgustaWestland AW189 helicopters. The Sumburgh and Stornoway bases will transition into the UK wide service in 2017 and will continue under that contract until 2026.

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