Humberside ’s HM Coastguard search and rescue (SAR) helicopter team has completed its 500th mission milestone since the service became a civilian operation, operated by Bristow Helicopters, in April 2015.
The base was one of the first purpose-built sites created as Bristow took responsibility for the UK SAR service, with each new base representing an investment worth in the region of £7million.
One of 10 Coastguard bases strategically located around the UK, Humberside provides vital life-saving support to the fishing and other marine industries and the offshore energy sector, as well as to land-based incidents including missing persons and other medical emergencies.
Completing 500 missions in just over two years is a significant occasion for Humberside’s dedicated teams of pilots and specialist winchman paramedics, winch operators, engineers and support staff, the majority of whom transferred to the new SAR service from the former military operation.
Chris Gibbins, chief technical crewman, said: “Reaching 500 missions is a major milestone for our team – on average we are scrambled to assist in a search and rescue call every day-and-half.
“Our focus is always on bringing people home safely from a search and rescue operation, dedicating ourselves to year-round training, and living up to the incredibly high standard that the UK SAR service has been renowned for delivering for more than 70 years.
“Many people won’t be aware just how regularly we are called out as, compared to the sound of an ambulance or fire engine passing by, our missions are often undertaken in remote, sparsely populated and challenging areas where our work goes unseen.
“We rely on the public for their support – in terms of preparing themselves as well as possible before they venture out on land and at sea, and for providing accurate information when calling 999 for assistance.”
The Humberside base has a team of 30, located at the Coastguard SAR base at Humberside Airport, close to Grimsby in Lincolnshire. Bristow began operating the UK’s SAR helicopter service on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) in 2015, after winning the tender in 2013.
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