A new company which has been awarded the contract to provide the UK’s helicopter search and rescue service attended its first call-out in the Peak District this week.
The service provided by the RAF and Royal Navy, with their iconic Sea Kings, is being replaced by civilian contractor Bristow Helicopters, and their first operation with their striking red and white Coastguard-liveried Sikorsky S-92 helicopter, which is based at Humberside, was to assist an injured paraglider on Mam Tor, near Castleton, on Tuesday.
The casualty, a 49-year-old male, had sustained neck and facial injuries after landing close to the summit.
Members of Buxton and Edale mountain rescue teams were first on the scene and, with the assistance of an RAF and North West Ambulance Service Technician who was nearby, provided medical care.
Due to the casualty’s location and the nature of his injuries, an aerial evacuation was requested. He was flown with a team paramedic to the Major Trauma Centre at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield.
Ed Proudfoot, spokesman for Edale Mountain Rescue Team, said: “It was evident that the many hours spent training with the new aircraft clearly paid off as the incident ran without a hitch.
“To have access to such a modern and capable aircraft manned by experienced Search and Rescue (SAR) crews is a massive benefit to rescue teams across the UK.”
The S-92 helicopter is the most advanced aircraft in Sikorsky’s civil product line. It has a capacity to carry two stretchers, 11 seated persons and a crew of four.
Like the old Sea King, the S-92 is capable of winching casualties aboard while hovering, and can also load casualties using an easily-accessible access ramp at the rear.