French fisherman rescued by helicopter Published: 07 February, 2008
A FRENCH fisherman with crush injuries has been rescued from a vessel 58 miles west of Benbecula during stormy conditions.
At 3am today, Stornoway MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) received a telephone call from MRCC Gris Nez informing it of an injured fisherman onboard the Julien Coleou.
The Coastguard rescue helicopter R100 was scrambled from Stornoway to the vessel. Whilst flying from the base to the position of the ship, the helicopter experienced wind speeds in excess of 70 knots at 2,000 feet.
A local doctor was also called to accompany the helicopter crew to assist with the possible injuries that the fisherman may be suffering from.
Upon arriving on scene, the helicopter captain decided that it was unsafe in view of the weather conditions to attempt to place his winchman on the deck of the vessel.
The wind was severe gale force 9 and the wave height was reaching extremes of 30 feet in troughs.
A decision was made to return to land and wait for calmer conditions and daylight before returning to recover the injured man.
A second attempt was made and a winchman was lowered to the deck of the fishing vessel in what was described as “extremely challenging conditions” for the helicopter crew. The man was recovered in a stretcher and winched into the helicopter where the doctor was able to immediately deal with his injuries.
Jackie Mckenzie, Duty Watch Manager, Stornoway Coastguard said: In these types of incidents, the helicopters are a vital asset in our primary aim which is the preservation and saving of life. Often the crews, especially in this part of the British Isles experience extremes of weather that can challenge the skill and professionalism of our crews.
“I am sure that in this incident, the French fisherman that was rescued this morning is grateful for the decisions made by the Captain and crew of R100.”
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