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Search and Rescue Helicopter Team Marks 500th Mission Milestone at Prestwick

June 29, 2017

HM Coastguard’s search and rescue (SAR) helicopter team at Prestwick has completed its milestone 500th mission since it began flying in January 2016.

The base was the sixth purpose-built operational centre established as SAR became a civilian service, operated by Bristow Helicopters, in April 2015. Each new base represents an investment valued in the region of £7million.

One of 10 Coastguard bases strategically located around the UK, Prestwick provides vital life-saving support on and offshore around Scotland’s west coast, to commercial shipping and fishing vessels, ferries, and pleasure craft as well as land-based incidents including mountain rescues, missing persons and other medical emergencies.

Completing 500 missions in less than a year-and-a-half is a significant occasion for Prestwick’s dedicated teams of pilots and specialist winchman paramedics, winch operators, engineers and support staff, the majority of whom transferred to the new Coastguard SAR service from the former military operation.

Rob Seall, chief technical crewman, said: “As a new base, our focus has been on ensuring a smooth transition for the service. Reaching 500 missions in only 18 months shows how much demand there is for our support around the west coast.

“Bringing people home safely from search and rescue operations, dedicating ourselves to year-round training, and living up to the incredibly high standard that the UK SAR service has been renowned for delivering for more than 70 years means we are always busy.

“While we may not be as visible as the traditional 999 rescue services – the sound of an ambulance or fire engine passing by is more regular than the sound of rotors overhead. That’s because our missions are often undertaken in remote, sparsely populated and challenging areas where our work goes unseen.

“There are some key things the public can do to reduce the likelihood they will need our help – in terms of preparing themselves as well as possible before they venture out on land and at sea. Should something happen, providing us with accurate information when calling for our assistance is absolutely vital.”

The Prestwick SAR base has a team of 30, located at Prestwick Airport, south-west of Glasgow in Ayrshire. Bristow began operating the UK’s SAR service on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) in 2015, after winning the tender in 2013.

For further information please contact:
Maritime and Coastguard Agency Press Office:

Public.relations@mcga.gov.uk
020 381 72222

Bristow Helicopters Communications:
Alan.Gorham@bigpartnership.co.uk
01224 211045

About HM Coastguard
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is a frontline delivery and emergency response organisation which is part 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 Bristow crews and helicopters. For more information on Bristow’s SAR operations, please visit www.bristowsar.com.
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 www.bristowgroup.com.