Western Isles Coastguard crew honoured
On 12 June HM Coastguard’s Western Isles SAR helicopter team celebrated more than three decades of lifesaving service with a special event at its newly renovated Stornoway base, and was presented with the Department for Transport’s Rescue Shield Award for its work in two rescues.
In June 2018 the Stornoway-based crew saved an elderly man who was clinging to a cliff edge on the remote island of St Kilda, having slipped and fallen some thirty hours previously. When the SAR Sikorsky S-92A arrived the man was in an extremely precarious position with a sheer 200ft drop below him. Winching him up wasn’t an option, as the downdraft could have proved fatal, and the man was very weak, but Coastguard rope technicians were able to bring him to safety.
Earlier, in May, the team rescued a young man who had become stranded at the base of the sheer cliffs at Fethaland, on the northern tip of Shetland. He was perched on rocks, in dark, squally and deteriorating weather conditions. An SAR specialist rope technician descended eighty feet into the dark, while being battered by strong winds and incoming waves, and managed to save him.
Presenting the trophy, Richard Parkes, Director of HM Coastguard, said: “I am immensely proud that HM Coastguard has been entrusted to provide the search and rescue helicopter service from Stornoway for over thirty years. In that time, the service has made a vital difference to so many lives, but not one team could do it on their own. That’s why it has given me great pleasure to have also been able to present the Rescue Shield Award, for joint efforts of the helicopter crews, operations staff and coastguard rescue teams on both Stornoway and Shetland to highlight the dedication, commitment and extreme bravery that is demonstrated by them to overcome the most challenging of situations.”
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HM Coastguard Stornoway S-92A