Sun 26th October, 2014 - Air Corps CASA conducts Search and Rescue.

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 230 miles North West of Sligo.

The Maritime Patrol Aircraft was airborne from Casement Aerodrome at 5.30 am, in response to a request from the Coast Guard to provide assistance for the winching operation, and arrived overhead the vessel, near the uninhabited remote granite islet of Rockall, at 7 am ahead of the Rescue helicopter.

The Air Corps crew used their maritime surveillance and communications equipment to assist the Coast Guard helicopter which arrived on-scene at 11.50 am and winched the casualty to safety.

The CASA kept a watchful eye the helicopter as it routed ashore and co-ordinate with Air Traffic control and the coast guard for a speedy transfer of the patient from Sligo airport to the nearest hospital.

During SAR Top-cover 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. 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 and monitor the helicopter as it routes ashore.

Press Release Date: Wednesday 20 October 2014 

For Further Information contact:

Press Officer: Comdt. Seán Ó Fátharta

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