Kinghorn rescue exercise with new helicopter

The new Coastguard helicopter and crew in Kinghorn
The new Coastguard helicopter and crew in Kinghorn

The arrival of an unusual visitor to Kinghorn sparked a lot of interest at the weekend.

But it wasn’t a human guest which sparked the excitement, but a Sikorski helicopter which landed in the playing fields of a Kinghorn park.

The new helicopter took part in a winching exercise with the lifeboats in Kinghorn Bay

The new helicopter took part in a winching exercise with the lifeboats in Kinghorn Bay

The brand new S92 helicopter took over search and rescue (SAR) duties in the area from the Royal Navy on January 1, and it made the trip to Kinghorn to provide a briefing to Kinghorn and Queensferry lifeboat crews, before taking part in a winching exercise in Kinghorn Bay.

The new Sikorski helicopter is larger than the Sea King it replaces, and it also has a host of new technologies to make it a hugely valuable SAR asset. Lifeboat crews train with helicopters on a regular basis, so that when a rescue requires it, all crews are comfortable working alongside each other.

Neil Chalmers, Kinghorn lifeboat helmsman, said: “This was the first time our crews had seen the new helicopter. On arrival, crew members were given a ground briefing by the crew, covering aircraft features, winching procedures and escape from the aircraft in the event of a ditching. This is important as members then have a first-hand experience of the helicopter and its features, and it also allows them to prepare and reassure casualties who may be evacuated.

“Following the briefing, both Kinghorn and Queensferry crews launched their boats to practice forming beneath the aircraft, an often difficult and potentially hazardous procedure. The winch wire was then lowered to the lifeboats.

“The exercise went very well with all crews happy with the day. Training like this is essential so that we’re always ready to answer a call from help, whatever time of the day or night that may come. We want to thank the helicopter crew and Kinghorn Coastguard Rescue Team who came along to assist with securing the landing zone.”