The Royal Navy Sea King lands on the new helipad at South Glasgow University Hospital, formerly the Southern General Hospital. Photo: Royal Navy

The Royal Navy Sea King lands on the new helipad at South Glasgow University Hospital, formerly the Southern General Hospital. Photo: Royal Navy

A Royal Navy rescue helicopter has ‘christened’ a new landing pad at a Scottish hospital.

The helipad is perched 14 storeys above ground at South Glasgow University Hospital and was used for the first time in earnest by a Sea King from HMS Gannet on a rescue mission.

The helicopter crews at the Ayrshire search and rescue base are the busiest in Britain, and the new hospital, which replaced the former Southern General Hospital in Govan, will be the destination for many unfortunate mountaineers and hillwalkers injured in incidents in the West of Scotland.

Lieutenant Commander Charlie Fuller at the controls of the Sea King. Photo: Royal Navy

Lieutenant Commander Charlie Fuller at the controls of the Sea King. Photo: Royal Navy

A Royal Navy spokesperson said: “After several training sorties, the distinctive red and grey Sea King helicopter from 177 SAR, based at Prestwick, finally got the shout to recover injured casualties and land them on the metallic gantry for real, though in both cases, the patients thankfully were not seriously hurt.

“Gannet is usually home to three Sea King Mk 5 helicopters providing a vital rescue service to the West of Scotland, north-west England and Northern Ireland.

The helipad is perched high on the new hospital. Photo: Royal Navy

The helipad is perched high on the new hospital. Photo: Royal Navy

“Meanwhile, the biggest ever Joint Warrior exercise off the west coast of Scotland last month provided Gannet with a very busy two weeks when over 220 sorties were flown from the Prestwick base including 34 flights in support of personnel movements and the resupply of logistics.”

Lieutenant Commander Charlie Fuller, the commanding officer of HMS Gannet, said: “At the same time as hosting Joint Warrior, Gannet remains the busiest SAR base in the UK by some way.

“We’d just achieved our 100th SAR job this year as the exercise came to a close and yesterday achieved four rescues in one day, over a period lasting almost ten hours.”

Civilian-crewed helicopters operated by Bristow under the control of the Coastguard will take over search and rescue operations from HMS Gannet on 1 January next year. They will fly from a new base at Prestwick.

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