Rescuers with the injured paraglider and the Coastguard Sikorsky on Mam Tor. Photo: Edale MRT

Rescuers with the injured paraglider and the Coastguard Sikorsky on Mam Tor. Photo: Edale MRT

One of the country’s new civilian search and rescue helicopters was used for the first time in a live mountain rescue in England this week.

The Humberside-based Sikorsky S-92 flew to the Peak District to help Edale Mountain Rescue Team deal with a badly injured paraglider who crashed on Mam Tor on Tuesday.

The military Sea Kings operated by the RAF and Royal Navy are gradually being replaced by the Coastguard-liveried helicopters operated by Bristow. The Humberside Sikorsky took over duties from the RAF Sea King based at Leconfield in East Yorkshire on 1 April.

Ed Proudfoot of Edale MRT said: “Teams around the North of England have been training on the new aircraft since the beginning of the year to become familiar with the new capabilities and operating procedures.

“However it wasn’t until Tuesday that the aircraft had been used in a live mountain rescue incident [in England and Wales].

“Around 11.40am Edale team was alerted to reports of a crashed paraglider on Mam Tor. A full team response was initiated along with a request for Buxton team to assist.

“Due to the location and severity of the man’s injuries a swift helicopter evacuation was quickly established as the best option. Working in conjunction with the East Midlands Ambulance Service, the request was made for Rescue 921 to attend. The aircraft landed near to the summit of Mam Tor and the casualty was loaded for onward transportation to the Northern General in Sheffield.

“Like the old Sea King the new S-92 is capable of winching casualties aboard whist hovering, and it also can load casualties using an easily accessible access ramp at the rear.

The Edale team has undergone extensive training with the new civilian helicopters. Photo: Edale MRT

The Edale team has undergone extensive training with the new civilian helicopters. Photo: Edale MRT

“The new aircraft boasts a modern and efficient design which means it is much faster than the old Sea King. However the efficiency of the rotors also means that the rotor downwash is significantly increased. This is a major consideration for teams operating with the aircraft as management of the accident site and the safety of bystanders becomes a crucial concern.

“It was evident that the many hours spent training with the new aircraft clearly paid off as the incident ran without a hitch. To have access to such a modern and capable aircraft manned by experienced search and rescue crews is a massive benefit to rescue teams across the UK.”

The Inverness-based Sikorsky S-92 has already been in action in Scotland, including the search for Kyle Knox on Ben Nevis, whose body was found last Friday by the crew of a Royal Navy Sea King which had also joined the operation.

The Coastguard already operated civilian search and rescue helicopters from the Western Isles, Shetland and the south coast of England under a previous contract, but the Mam Tor rescue was the first in England and Wales under the new service.

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