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Newquay Search and Rescue Crew Reach Milestone During Storm Emma

March 07, 2018

HM Coastguard’s Newquay Search and Rescue (SAR) base, operated by Bristow, surpassed its 700-mission milestone as they responded to calls for help during extreme weather conditions brought by the “Beast from the East” and Storm Emma.

After the daily crew change at 13:00 on February 28, 2018, there were four missions before midnight and, by noon on March 2, the team had responded to 12 call-outs in just 60 hours, with more than 20 hours spent away from base. Unusually for the southwest, heavy snow needed to be cleared continuously, and, when airborne, crews had to use techniques not often called for in the area to operate safely when hovering and landing over powder snow.

The hectic few days’ activity saw the base pass its latest mission milestone – reaching and surging beyond 700 tasks completed since it operations began in January 2016.

“It has been a challenging but rewarding time for the team,” said Mark Coupland, Newquay chief pilot. “Everyone has pulled together and worked really hard to ensure operations continued in very demanding conditions.

“When the Met Office issued a severe weather warning for the area, some crews even traveled through the night ahead of their next shift to ensure they made it to the base, rather than risk being unable to get in because of the snow.

“Throughout the week, our crews were tasked with flying in some extreme weather conditions that put their skills to the test in the air, and on the ground.

“Our engineers, accustomed to working hard to service our aircraft between missions, also brought our snow-clearing equipment out of storage and into full-time use to ensure the helipad was safe.”

During the height of the snowstorm that engulfed the area, the crewman became an overnight star on social media after a local photographer captured footage of him dancing on the landing pad to keep warm.

John Baldry’s unique video of Coastguard 924 SAR helicopter landing at Derriford Hospital in the middle of a blizzard on March 1, went viral and saw a huge swell of support from the public for the team’s efforts.

The video, shared by local newspaper the Plymouth Herald and across social media channels, saw local residents praise the efforts of the emergency services teams working across Devon and Cornwall throughout the storm.

For further information please contact:
Maritime and Coastguard Agency Press Office:
02380 329401

Bristow Helicopters Communications:
01224 211 045

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. HM Coastguard (part of the MCA), 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 SAR within the UK SAR region. The agency helps approximately 25,000 people each year with approximately 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 HM Coastguard, having been awarded the UK SAR contract . 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 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