10th February, 2015 - Air Corps CASA conducts Search and Rescue top cover mission.

An Air Corps CASA aircraft successfully provided Search and Rescue (SAR) top cover for the medical evacuation of an injured fisherman from a fishing vessel approx 200 miles South West of Mizen Head.

The Air Corps fixed Wing standby crew were scrambled at 1pm this afternoon in response to a request from the Coast Guard to provide assistance for the winching operation.

The Maritime Patrol Aircraft was airborne from Casement Aerodrome 35 minutes after receiving the request and arrived overhead the vessel, near the edge of the Irish exclusive economic zone (EEZ) ahead of the Coast Guard Rescue helicopter, shortly after 3pm.

The Air Corps crew used their maritime surveillance and communications equipment to assist the helicopter which arrived on-scene just before 4pm and spent 30 minutes onsecene winching the casualty to safety.

The CASA kept a watchful eye over the helicopter as it routed ashore and co-ordinated with Air Traffic control and the Coast Guard for the transfer of the patient from Cork airport to the nearest hospital.

The crew landed back in Casement Aerodrome at 6.30pm and will remain on standby for the rest of the night.

During SAR Topcover Missions the Air Corps will arrive on scene ahead of the Rescue helicopter. They can make contact with the vessel in distress to ascertain the condition of the patient, check the weather on scene and pass these details to the helicopter. They also pass on relevant instructions from the helicopter crews to the vessel so they can prepare for winching.

The Radar Operators monitor the helicopter and target vessel. They pass on constant updates of bearing and range so the helicopter crews can work out performance calculations and fuel planning.

The Air Corps flight crew keep communications with the Coast Guard and Air Traffic control and advise them on the status of the mission.

When in range the CASA monitors the operation on its Forward Looking Infrared Camera (FLIR) and if required is equipped with Flares, Surface Markers and droppable rafts to assist in the SAR.

When the patient has been transferred and assessed the flight crew will then co-ordinate with Air Traffic control once a destination has been decided upon.

Finally the CASA keeps a watchful eye the helicopter as it routes ashore.

Press Release Date: Tuesday 10th February  2015

For Further Information contact:

Press Officer: Comdt. Seán Ó Fátharta

Tel: 045 49 2502 , 045 49 2503

Mobile : 087 2482130

E-mail: Press Officer

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