October 21, 2017 – CHC Group has announced that the pilot and aircrew of Rescue 651 have been recognized with a Commendation Award at the National SAR Awards held in Canberra, Australia. This Commendation Award commends the CHC Helicopter’s pilot and aircrew, along with a St John Ambulance Paramedic for their efforts in rescuing a twenty-seven-year-old man with a broken leg from the vessel “Fatal Attraction” near Israelite Bay, Western Australia on November 6, 2016.
This rescue took place in high winds and heavy swell, when the CHC Helicopter piloted by Craig Bowman, Aircrew Garth Fitzgerald and Critical Care Paramedic Ben Harris who retrieved the injured fisherman using a winch transfer from the vessel. This rescue took place off the southern coast of Western Australia, approximately 800km (500 miles) from the crew’s Jandakot base in Perth.
This crew is a part of the team that operates Western Australia’s rescue helicopter service on behalf of the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, were tasked with the rescue just after 1430 hours on the afternoon of November 6, and reached the vessel at approximately 1830 hours.
The crew only had about ten minutes of daylight left when they winched Paramedic Ben Harris down to the vessel where he splinted the injured man’s leg before hoisting Paramedic Harris and the patient back into the Bell 412 helicopter. With the assistance of ground support from Esperance Volunteer Marine Service, SES volunteers, and DEFS personnel, RAC Rescue Helicopter 651 was able to refuel before flying with NVIS to get the patient back to Esperance and transfer him to a Royal Flying Doctor Service aircraft for the final transport to the Royal Perth Hospital.
“We are thrilled that our dedicated and experienced crew, in conjunction with St John Ambulance, have been recognized with a national award from NATSAR Council,” said Vincent D’Rozario, Regional Director, CHC Asia Pacific. “Not a day goes by when there aren’t incredible SAR operations all over the world that fly under the radar. Our crews have saved so many lives and we are thankful to the NATSAR Council for holding these awards to acknowledge the terrific work that is done by search and rescue teams every day.”
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