Holiday season starts with six callouts for Culdrose SAR
The summer holiday season has started with a record six callouts in one weekend for Cornwall’s Navy Search and Rescue helicopter Squadron.
This weekend was the busiest weekend of the year so far. The duty crews of 771 Naval Air Squadron were called out a total of six times between Friday and Sunday, taking part in rescues around the county, one of which involved winching a four year old boy who had fallen onto rocks on Whitsand Bay.
The increase in work came as no surprise to the men and women who fly and maintain the distinctive red and grey Sea King helicopters based at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose, near Helston.
“The summer season always brings an increase in the number of jobs, as the schools break up and the weather improves,” said Lt Cdr Martin Shepherd, Commanding Officer of 771 Squadron. “We train every day, and we tailor that training to the types of job we expect to get called out to.” To illustrate that point, Friday’s duty crew had just returned from a beach landing, winching and cooperation exercise with the RNLI when they were called out to the first of three rescues that would see them in the aircraft until late into the evening.
The pilots, Flight Lieutenant Jon Owen and Lieutenant Jon Duke, along with their Observer Lieutenant Commander Paul Robertson and Aircrewman Petty Officer Shaun Knights, were the same crew that responded to three more callouts on Sunday. In total, the four men spent nearly ten hours in their aircraft over their two days on shift.