Monday, 9 January 2017

UK Coastguard helicopter flies 100 miles just inside French waters to evacuate unwell crewman from Newlyn beam trawler, Resurgam PZ1001

While most of us were still asleep this morning, a blast of cold sea air was being felt by UK Coastguard Paramedic Winchman Niall Hanson as he was winched onto a UK fishing vessel 100 nautical miles south of Newquay to assist an unwell crewman.

Co-ordinated by the UK Coastguard Operations Centre at Falmouth, the Newquay search and rescue helicopter flew over rough seas and just inside French waters to evacuate the sick crewman from the UK vessel. The crewman was airlifted to Treliske Hospital by the helicopter crew of Captain Mark Coupland, Co-Pilot ‘Sharky’ Finn, Paramedic Winch Operator Jason Bibby and Paramedic Winchman Niall Hanson. His condition was not thought to be life-threatening and we wish him a speedy recovery.

The footage was filmed by the helicopter team.

Clearly visible in the video during the rescue, both beam trawls are suspended from the end of the derricks to help stabilise the boat and reduce the degree of roll while the skipper steams at full speed just off the wind. This helps reduce any dramatic variations in movement which, given the proximity of the stern mast to the high-line can only make the operation safer. Notice how the winchman applies opposite pressure to the high-line as the winch reels in the diver and casualty to minimise the sway.

All skippers know the correct procedure for such an incident, so in all likelihood the only contact between the boat and the rescue helicopter would have been when the navigator calls the skipper of the boat and reminds him to "please maintain your present course and speed" - the height of a professional operation for which the fishing community of the UK can only be ever grateful.