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Coastguard helicopter in simulation rescue exercise with MV Argyle

A simulated medical evacuation exercise [medevac] has been carried out on CalMac’s Bute ferry, MV Argyle by Prestwick-based HM Coastguard’s Search and Rescue S92 helicopter. This is the new private sector kid on the block, replacing the Sea Kings of the Royal Navy’s well known HMS Gannet.

The exercise took place yesterday, 5th January 2016  – starting at 15.38 and ending at 15.50 – during the ferry’s scheduled passage from Rothesay to Gourock. The Cloch Lighthouse on the east side of the Upper Firth of Clyde is visible in the background of one of the images here. You can also see the winchman at water level to the left of the stern of MV Argyll in the left hand photograph below – and his winch buddy leaning out of the side of the helicopter above him.

This sort of exercise is carried out with relative frequency on a number of CalMac ferries up and down the 200-mile west coast network, with this one a likely part of the working up of the incoming service provider’s operation.

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The exercise lasted around twelve minutes and went well – a brief announcement was made on the ferry to let passengers know what was happening so that they wouldn’t be alarmed by the presence of the helicopter.

CalMac is always happy to work with emergency services in training scenarios like this providing it is safe to do so and that there is no impact on the timetable/normal operation of the vessel.

Bristow Helicopters took over from the Royal Navy’s HMS Gannet on 1st January 2016 – as HM Coastguard, for the provision of helicopter search and rescue for much of the west coast.

The photographs here were taken fduring the exercise from the bridge of MV Argyle – almost visible as reflections in the images.

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