LONG RANGE HELICOPTER MISSION FROM STORNOWAY Published: 23 January, 2012
Stornoway Coastguard rescue helicopter rescued a severely injured fisherman from a vessel 230 miles offshore on Saturday January 21 2012.
Weather conditions were strong winds of force 9 and occasionally up to Storm Force 10 and at 10.26am, Stornoway Coastguard was contacted by the Spanish Coastguard to request help in evacuating a crewman on board the UK registered fishing vessel Mar Blanco. The man had suffered severe head injuries in a fall and required urgent hospital treatment.
Stornoway Coastguard rescue helicopter flew to the vessel, which had to head towards Stornoway in order to bring the vessel into helicopter range by the time the aircraft rendezvoused later that afternoon. A Spanish translator helped to relay clear instructions to the fishing vessel for the operation because of a high line transfer from the fishing vessel to the rescue helicopter. Close coordination between the vessel and aircraft is essential during a high line transfer.
Initially safety cover for the helicopter was to be provided by the Coastguard surveillance aircraft but this had to turn back due to icing problems. The rescue helicopter from RAF Lossiemouth provided this safety cover for the Coastguard rescue helicopter during the operation.
The injured crewman was transfered to hospital in Stornoway.
Stornoway Coastguard Watch Manager Murdo Macaulay said: “In this weather and at this range it was vital that the helicopter was able to rendezvous with the vessel and evacuate the injured crewman with as little delay as possible. This operation required close co-operation by many different partners in the search and rescue framework.