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Bristow Praised for Urgent Medevac Support to Critically Ill Sailor

July 25, 2017

Bristow’s Exmouth crew was praised for providing a medevac of a critically ill sailor in need of urgent care from a ship 107 nautical miles off Western Australia on July 20, 2017, following a call for help from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).

After securing approval from its clients to release the aircraft, Bristow launched two AW139s for the evacuation and top coverage.

Wireman Jody Melville was winched down, boarded the vessel, and met with the ship’s medic and crew. The ill sailor was prepared for evacuation, and Bristow executed a winch transfer from the ship to the helicopter. The Bristow crew flew back to Exmouth and transferred the patient to the waiting Exmouth St Johns Ambulance.

“We are consistently working to improve our response time and efficiency when conducting SAR operations,” said Pilot in Charge Travis Brand. “Although Bristow Helicopters is primarily an offshore operator in Australia, our crew here at Exmouth are committed to providing the best service we can with the resources we have available.

“The two winch-capable AW139s we used were only available because of support from our clients. Without their support and timely approvals to release the aircraft, we would not have been able to assist. It was a great team effort by all involved on base.”

“I want to personally thank you and the Bristow crews of VH-ZFN and VH-ZFM for your efforts yesterday evening,” said AMSA Search and Rescue Officer Leigh Dickie. “Your rapid appreciation of the situation, and willingness to assist and avail an extra airframe at very short notice were very much appreciated. We in the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) are often confronted with remote and challenging coordination situations. It is of great comfort to know that we can call on you to provide such an exemplary service. Please accept this correspondence as a message of great appreciation and thanks to all involved, including engineers, fueling and support staff.”

Crews involved in the rescue were Captains Howie Croft and Travis Brand flying the primary winch aircraft VH-ZFN, supported by rear crew Winchman Op Fabio Pieraccini and Wireman Jody Melville. Crew aboard VH-ZFM providing top cover included Captains Matt Leyden and Andrew Cox, with rear crewman Deputy Engineer in Charge Doug Rattey.