18th February 2015 - Air Corps CASA conducts Search and Rescue top cover mission.

This morning an Air Corps CASA aircraft successfully provided search and rescue (SAR) top cover for the Coast Guard medical evacuation of an injured fisherman from a vessel approx 150 nautical miles South West of the Skelligs.

This was the second time the Air Corps' Maritime Surveillance aircraft provided top cover for a Coast Guard SAR to this fishing vessel this week. On Friday night a similar mission was conducted in the dark 170 miles off Castletownbere for another injured crewman on board.

The Air Corps fixed Wing CASA Maritime Patrol Aircraft arrived overhead the vessel, near the edge of the Irish exclusive economic zone (EEZ) ahead of the Coast Guard Rescue helicopter, at 6.49 am.

The Air Corps crew used their maritime surveillance and communications equipment to assist the Coast Guard helicopter which arrived on-scene 7.46 am and spent 25 minutes on scene 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 a speedy transfer of the patient from Cork airport to the nearest hospital.

During SAR Topcover Missions the Air Corps will arrive on scene ahead of the Rescue helicopter. They can make contact with the Vessel to ascertain the condition of the patient, check the weather on scene and pass these details back 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 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.


Press Release Date:  18th 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

Read more information on the CASA