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St Athan Search and Rescue Helicopter Service Celebrates One Year Milestone

October 04, 2016

Bristow Helicopters Limited has reached the first anniversary of delivering search and rescue (SAR) operations on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, from the base at St Athan Airfield.

The HM Coastguard service became operational at St Athan on 4 October 2015 and statistics for the base's first year show that the crew responded to around 200 taskings from the Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre (ARCC).

Chief Pilot Captain Olly Padbury said: “I’d like to extend our thanks to the local communities for making us feel so welcome over the past 12 months. It’s a great privilege to serve this area and we are very much looking forward to the future as part of HM Coastguard’s lifesaving service.

“I am particularly pleased that we have been able to establish such positive relationships with emergency service teams North and South of the Bristol Channel. The year has brought an enormous variety of missions, from feeling our way through low cloud in the Black Mountains, to the beaches of North Devon, ferries, fishermen and Lundy Island. I am so proud of the team here at St Athan and of the service we provide.”

Bristow crews are delivering the UK SAR helicopter service on behalf of HM Coastguard with state-of-the-art helicopters, equipped with the latest search and rescue technology including night vision, mission management and increased onboard medical capabilities.

Russell Torbet, director of UK SAR, said: “It’s a proud day for the SAR team at Bristow. Many years of hard work went into the preparations for taking over the service from the military, so 12 months of successful operations at St Athan is indeed a great milestone.”

In 2013 Bristow won the UK Government national contract to deliver SAR operations on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). Seven of 10 strategically located bases have taken over the helicopter SAR responsibility from the military in a phased approach throughout 2015 and 2016. The remaining three, two of which are already operated by Bristow, are set to become part of the new contract in 2017.

For further information please contact the Bristow Helicopters Communication team on 01224 806 602 or via

About HM Coastguard
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is a frontline delivery and emergency response organisation which is an agency of the Department for Transport. Part of the MCA is HM Coastguard, which provides a UK-wide maritime emergency prevention and response capability which responds to calls for help by radio, satellite or the 999 service and coordinates maritime search and rescue (SAR) within the UK SAR region. The agency helps approximately 25,000 people each year with 21,000 incidents coordinated by its rescue centres.

About Bristow Helicopters Ltd
Bristow Helicopters Ltd is the provider of helicopter search and rescue (SAR) services in the UK, on behalf of Her Majesty's Coastguard, having been awarded the UK SAR contract and the Gap SAR contract for Northern Scotland. Bristow Helicopters has a long history of providing world class SAR services, beginning in 1971 at RAF Manston, and has flown more than 60,000 SAR operational hours in the UK and conducted over 15,000 SAR missions, during which more than 7,000 people have been rescued by our crews and helicopters. For more information on Bristow’s SAR operations, please visit

Bristow Helicopters Ltd. has served the offshore oil transport industry in the UK for nearly 60 years. Bristow Helicopters Ltd. is an affiliated company of Bristow Group Inc.

About Bristow Group
Bristow Group Inc. is the leading provider of helicopter services to the worldwide offshore energy industry based on the number of aircraft operated and one of two helicopter service providers to the offshore energy industry with global operations. The company has major transportation operations in the North Sea, Nigeria and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, and in most of the other major offshore oil and gas producing regions of the world, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Russia and Trinidad. For more information, visit the Company's website at