Bristow, August 16, 2016 - Bristow Helicopters Limited has reached the first anniversary of delivering search and rescue (SAR) operations on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, from the base at London Ashford Airport.
The HM Coastguard service became operational at Lydd on 14 August 2015 and statistics for the base's first year, show that the crew at Lydd responded to over 180 taskings from the Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre (ARCC).
Chief Pilot at Lydd SAR, Captain Neil Robertson, said: “It has been an enormous privilege to deliver such an important service over the past year and we look forward to delivering many more. It has been an incredible 12 months with some really challenging taskings. I’d like to thank the surrounding communities for making us feel so welcome.
"Many of the crew, myself included, spent a number of years here while serving at RAF Wattisham. It's great to be home and we look forward to moving into our permanent base once it's ready."
Earlier this year the Department for Transport confirmed that Lydd would be the permanent base for the service in the south east. Plans are now underway to build a new search and rescue facility at the airport.
Russell Torbet, newly appointed director of UK SAR, said: “The crews at Lydd have done a tremendous job over the past year. RAF Wattisham set the bar incredibly high and I’m delighted to see that our crews are carrying on that legacy.
“We are extremely proud to be delivering this long running and vital service and we hope that the work of our crews is of value to the communities they serve.”
In 2013 Bristow won the UK Government national contract to deliver SAR operations on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). Seven of 10 strategically located bases have taken over the helicopter SAR responsibility from the military in a phased approach throughout 2015 and 2016. The remaining three, two of which are already operated by Bristow, are set to become part of the new contract in 2017.
About HM Coastguard: The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is a frontline delivery and emergency response organisation which is part of the Department for Transport.
Part of the MCA is HM Coastguard, which provides a UK-wide maritime emergency prevention and response capability which responds to calls for help by radio, satellite or the 999 service and coordinates maritime search and rescue (SAR) within the UK SAR region. The agency helps approximately 25,000 people each year with 21,000 incidents coordinated by its rescue centres.
About Bristow Search & Rescue: Bristow Helicopters Ltd is the leading provider of helicopter search and rescue (SAR) services in the UK, having been awarded the UK SAR contract and the Gap SAR contract for Northern Scotland.
Bristow Helicopters has a long history of providing world class SAR services in the UK, beginning in 1971. Bristow Helicopters has flown more than 44,000 SAR operational hours in the UK and conducted over 15,000 SAR missions, during which more than 7,000 people have been rescued by our crews and helicopters. We also currently deliver SAR operations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Norway, Russia and Trinidad.