The Coastguard helicopter base at Portland has carried out its 3,000th mission.
A Coastguard search and rescue helicopter base has been in existence at Portland since 1995 initially co-located with the Royal Navy at HMS Osprey and when the Air Station closed, a purpose built facility was built by the MCA on land leased from the Regional Development Agency now known as Osprey Quay.
The helicopter that is currently being operated at this base is an AgustaWestland 139 provided by CHC Scotia.
These helicopters are being provided under contract to the MCA by CHC Scotia who won the interim contract to supply the service to the MCA from 2007 to 2012.
The interim contract provides for a Coastguard search and rescue helicopter service from four civilian-operated bases - Lee-on-the-Solent and Portland on the south coast and Stornoway and Sumburgh in Scotland - for a five-year period from July 1, 2007.
The 3,000th mission occurred when the aircraft was scrambled to assist Dorset Police in a search for a missing person at Christchurch, Dorset. The missing person was located safe and well prior to the helicopter arriving and commencing their search.
Rod Johnson, Chief Coastguard, Maritime and Coastguard Agency, said:
“The passing of this milestone is a major achievement for the MCA. Our helicopters and their crews have provided superb service for us over many years and are absolutely integral to the search and rescue infrastructure that exists in this country.
The service availability record of the aircraft is a testament to the hard working dedication of the ground crews and engineers who are often the ‘forgotten’ part of the team. Our contracted aircraft are often called to assist our partner emergency services.
Ian McLuskie OBE, UK SAR Contracts Manager, CHC Scotia said:
“It is great to see the Coastguard Rescue helicopter based at Portland reach this outstanding operational landmark, an accomplishment due to the skills, commitment and experience of all our personnel, allied to modern SAR technology.
“We will work closely with the MCA to ensure Portland – and the agency’s other bases – continues to deliver effective SAR services and reaches further operational milestones in the future.”
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