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Bristow Norway Assists in Dramatic Sea Rescue

November 06, 2012

When the Norwegian fishing vessel Kamaro broke down at sea in late October, it seemed that it could simply be towed to port for repairs. But rapidly deteriorating weather conditions brought the decision to evacuate the 14-person crew and a call to Bristow to join the rescue effort.

As soon as Bristow’s Norway Area Manager Renee de Jong approved the mission, Captain Jan Andersen and crew scrambled to get airborne and reach the vessel about 40 nautical miles offshore. Arriving on scene, they found the 128-foot vessel pitching heavily in extremely large seas and high winds. 

“We lowered our rescue man, Thomas Linnerud-Vageng, to the deck. But after having the main hoist wire break on the vessel’s structure, it became obvious that we would not be able to winch anyone from the vessel because it was rolling and heaving too much,” Capt. Andersen says. “That meant each person would have to jump overboard when instructed, where Thomas was waiting to secure them for hoisting, using the backup (secondary) hoist.”

With 11 people rescued, Capt. Andersen realized that fuel levels were becoming critical and handed off the mission to a Coast Guard helicopter that retrieved the last three crew members. A doctor on board, Trygve Andreas Monstad, conducted initial evaluations en route to Hammerfest, Norway and all were found to be in good condition although shaken by the episode.

Other crew members participating in the rescue were:

  • Co-pilot: Ville Varantola
  • Winch operator/technician: Kenneth Arild
  • Cabin assistant: Torry Hansen

Stand-out training, technology

“The extreme weather conditions made this operation a big challenge,” Capt. Andersen says. “It was a good example of what can be done when modern equipment combines with a committed and well-trained crew to save lives.

“As the commander of this mission, I would like express my gratitude and respect to the rest of the crew for a job done with a high level of professionalism,” he says. “I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish in very difficult circumstances.”