Search and rescue flying from RNAS Culdrose to end

Search and rescue flying from RNAS Culdrose to end

Search and rescue flying from RNAS Culdrose to end

First published in News
Last updated
by , News Editor

RNAS Culdrose will no longer be a base for search and rescue flying.

It means the award-winning naval crewmembers of 771 Squadron will not be in charge of the life-saving service that they have been providing for more than half a century.

It is after the Department of Transport announced today that a US-based company will be taking over the UK’s search and rescue operations from 2015.

The contract has been awarded to the Bristow Group, from Texas, which has won a ten-year £1.6 billion contract.

The news comes as the Royal Navy celebrates 60 years of search and rescue flying.

Instead this service for Cornwall will now be based in Newquay. There will also be nine other sites around the UK.

West Cornwall MP, Andrew George, said: “This is, of course, a bitter disappointment to those who have admired and supported the excellent and heroic service which the 771 Squadron has provided in the West for many decades.

“In truth, the writing was on the wall for the service based at Culdrose when the last Labour Government regrettably decided that they would privatise the service in 2006.

“Although it proposed to initially continue running Search and Rescue from Culdrose, we all understood that it would just be a matter of time before a civilian service would find its own home.

“It is regrettable that the service will be moving to Newquay. I have concerns that both the operational capacity of Culdrose and its capacity to attend many incidents in the far reaches of the Western Approaches – often 200 – 250 miles west of the Isles of Scilly – will not receive the same response from Newquay. Although the S92 is a superior air frame to the Sea King, Culdrose has a clear locational advantage over Newquay in terms of its access to the many and challenging maritime incidents that happen in the far West.

“This news does not in any way undermine the future of RNAS Culdrose itself as the naval air station is the fulcrum of the military Merlin air arm which is crucial for the future of Royal Naval operations.

“Obviously, the military will still have to make their own arrangements for military Search and Rescue and the maritime counter terrorism role which the 771 Squadron provided will need to be operated differently.

“It just remains for those of us who have fought to keep Search and Rescue at Culdrose to honour and respect those who have contributed to an excellent service.”

  • Have you been rescued by a Culdrose search and rescue helicopter? Contact Emma Ferguson on 01326 213341 or email emma.ferguson@packetseries.co.uk with your reaction to this news. 

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Comments (14)

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11:25am Tue 26 Mar 13

Toffer99 says...

Another sell-off, then.
http://www.guardian.
co.uk/politics/2012/
may/31/coalition-u-t
urns-full-list
Privatisation of our police is across the board and already well in motion. This is an ideological series of changes that were planned well before the recession. The same thing is happening to the NHS.
The financial situation is being used as an excuse to push through radical 'reforms' that they have no mandate for. No one would have voted for parties that promised to rip the guts out of our public services and sell them to private companies. We'll still be paying for it all, but our taxes will be going to Bristow and G4S and Care UK and we'll be getting services that put profit before people.

No tax on your pasty but ... oops while you weren't looking the #NHS was dismantled and the #police were privatised. Still never mind, now that we're all earning £100 grand or more!
Another sell-off, then. http://www.guardian. co.uk/politics/2012/ may/31/coalition-u-t urns-full-list Privatisation of our police is across the board and already well in motion. This is an ideological series of changes that were planned well before the recession. The same thing is happening to the NHS. The financial situation is being used as an excuse to push through radical 'reforms' that they have no mandate for. No one would have voted for parties that promised to rip the guts out of our public services and sell them to private companies. We'll still be paying for it all, but our taxes will be going to Bristow and G4S and Care UK and we'll be getting services that put profit before people. No tax on your pasty but ... oops while you weren't looking the #NHS was dismantled and the #police were privatised. Still never mind, now that we're all earning £100 grand or more! Toffer99
  • Score: 0

1:57pm Tue 26 Mar 13

Tyrone Shulace says...

The Conservatives privatised a whole heap of things in the 1980s now it looks like the voters have given them the chance to do it all again. It will be a sad day when the search and rescue no longer fly out of Culdrose.
The Conservatives privatised a whole heap of things in the 1980s now it looks like the voters have given them the chance to do it all again. It will be a sad day when the search and rescue no longer fly out of Culdrose. Tyrone Shulace
  • Score: 0

3:14pm Tue 26 Mar 13

Mike Clouston says...

Search and Rescue helicopter services at Stornoway and Sumburgh (Shetland) and Portland more recently, have always been provided by private companies, such as Bristows and CHC from Canada.
The expertise of the crews is of the very highest standard. In fact many of them came from a service background although several had been trained "in-house".
Bristow will be deploying the new helicopters at Stornoway and Sumburgh this summer. Crews are already training in them at Inverness Airport.
Search and Rescue helicopter services at Stornoway and Sumburgh (Shetland) and Portland more recently, have always been provided by private companies, such as Bristows and CHC from Canada. The expertise of the crews is of the very highest standard. In fact many of them came from a service background although several had been trained "in-house". Bristow will be deploying the new helicopters at Stornoway and Sumburgh this summer. Crews are already training in them at Inverness Airport. Mike Clouston
  • Score: 0

3:42pm Tue 26 Mar 13

Lord Barrington Forbes-Smythe says...

I'd be interested to know precisely where they'll be deploying the ones that will take over from those currently working out of Culdrose.

Will people like the angler washed into the sea at Praa Sands the other day have to wait any longer for them to get there?
I'd be interested to know precisely where they'll be deploying the ones that will take over from those currently working out of Culdrose. Will people like the angler washed into the sea at Praa Sands the other day have to wait any longer for them to get there? Lord Barrington Forbes-Smythe
  • Score: 0

3:44pm Tue 26 Mar 13

Lord Barrington Forbes-Smythe says...

Oh, I see it will be Newquay, so not much difference hopefully!
Oh, I see it will be Newquay, so not much difference hopefully! Lord Barrington Forbes-Smythe
  • Score: 0

5:20pm Tue 26 Mar 13

Gillian Zella Martin 09 says...

I will miss seeing the search and rescue helicopters going out from Culdrose, so much seems to have changed about Culdrose over the years, I remember the little low fence round the perimeter that you could almost jump over.
I will miss seeing the search and rescue helicopters going out from Culdrose, so much seems to have changed about Culdrose over the years, I remember the little low fence round the perimeter that you could almost jump over. Gillian Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 0

8:54pm Tue 26 Mar 13

telstar1962 says...

This has been talked about for years

It's no surprise.

So instead of the French, it's the Americans
This has been talked about for years It's no surprise. So instead of the French, it's the Americans telstar1962
  • Score: 0

6:57am Wed 27 Mar 13

Gillian Zella Martin 09 says...

It said on BBC Radio Cornwall that we will get a better service!!!! We have already got an excellent service from Culdrose, I do not really see how it can be better, I certainly do not see how it can be better for anyone needing help on and around the Lizard when they will be waiting for a helicopter to come from Newquay. That is if it does actually come from Newquay and not eventually end up coming from somewhere else.
It said on BBC Radio Cornwall that we will get a better service!!!! We have already got an excellent service from Culdrose, I do not really see how it can be better, I certainly do not see how it can be better for anyone needing help on and around the Lizard when they will be waiting for a helicopter to come from Newquay. That is if it does actually come from Newquay and not eventually end up coming from somewhere else. Gillian Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 0

6:58am Wed 27 Mar 13

Gillian Zella Martin 09 says...

It said on BBC Radio Cornwall that we will get a better service!!!! We have already got an excellent service from Culdrose, I do not really see how it can be better, I certainly do not see how it can be better for anyone needing help on and around the Lizard when they will be waiting for a helicopter to come from Newquay. That is if it does actually come from Newquay and not eventually end up coming from somewhere else.
It said on BBC Radio Cornwall that we will get a better service!!!! We have already got an excellent service from Culdrose, I do not really see how it can be better, I certainly do not see how it can be better for anyone needing help on and around the Lizard when they will be waiting for a helicopter to come from Newquay. That is if it does actually come from Newquay and not eventually end up coming from somewhere else. Gillian Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 0

8:27am Wed 27 Mar 13

molesworth says...

Gillian Zella Martin 09 wrote:
I will miss seeing the search and rescue helicopters going out from Culdrose, so much seems to have changed about Culdrose over the years, I remember the little low fence round the perimeter that you could almost jump over.
I'm glad you didn't actually jump over that low fence Gill, tempted as you might have been by the smart uniforms and daring pilots. Your honour was not lost.
It will be sad when Culdrose goes 'quiet' regarding rescue ops. It's been a part of Cornwall we've all felt proud of on more than one occasion.
It's like when the RNLI stopped sending up maroons when there was a shout, without hearing those bangs on a stormy night one wasn't quite so aware of the bravery playing itself out at sea on a regular basis.
I'll miss the coastal patrols in the summer by the Seakings...
[quote][p][bold]Gillian Zella Martin 09[/bold] wrote: I will miss seeing the search and rescue helicopters going out from Culdrose, so much seems to have changed about Culdrose over the years, I remember the little low fence round the perimeter that you could almost jump over.[/p][/quote]I'm glad you didn't actually jump over that low fence Gill, tempted as you might have been by the smart uniforms and daring pilots. Your honour was not lost. It will be sad when Culdrose goes 'quiet' regarding rescue ops. It's been a part of Cornwall we've all felt proud of on more than one occasion. It's like when the RNLI stopped sending up maroons when there was a shout, without hearing those bangs on a stormy night one wasn't quite so aware of the bravery playing itself out at sea on a regular basis. I'll miss the coastal patrols in the summer by the Seakings... molesworth
  • Score: 0

9:21am Wed 27 Mar 13

Gillian Zella Martin 09 says...

I forgot about the RNLI and the maroons molesworth I too missed hearing them when they stopped. Seeing the search and rescue go out is also the first awareness of an incident. I remember when they first got the Merlins and when they had the little gazelles that used to fly around.

In my view I think the income that Newquay airport will gain is probably a consideration to help keep the airport in operation. I think it is all political.
I forgot about the RNLI and the maroons molesworth I too missed hearing them when they stopped. Seeing the search and rescue go out is also the first awareness of an incident. I remember when they first got the Merlins and when they had the little gazelles that used to fly around. In my view I think the income that Newquay airport will gain is probably a consideration to help keep the airport in operation. I think it is all political. Gillian Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 0

10:59am Wed 27 Mar 13

Romina says...

Thankyou to the team from Culdrose, that yesterday, took that poor girl from Falmouth, injured in that awful car crash to Derriford. They landed on our cricket pitch here in Perranwell Station. amazing team. So if the recue team had been based in Newquay, how long would they have taken to get here? Ace of Clubs, we will all miss you so much. You are a hero's, here in Cornwall and beyond,
Thankyou to the team from Culdrose, that yesterday, took that poor girl from Falmouth, injured in that awful car crash to Derriford. They landed on our cricket pitch here in Perranwell Station. amazing team. So if the recue team had been based in Newquay, how long would they have taken to get here? Ace of Clubs, we will all miss you so much. You are a hero's, here in Cornwall and beyond, Romina
  • Score: 0

1:58pm Wed 27 Mar 13

Tyrone Shulace says...

Gill and molesworth you are so right, everything has changed so much over the years within Culdrose and the RNLI, like you Gill i had also forgotten about the maroons the RLNI used to use. molesworth you are right, it used to remind me of their bravery when i heard there was a shout. Some things have changed for the better and some things i think for the worse. Some were inevitable due to ever increasing security procedures ie the improvement to the fence surrounding Culdrose.

Mike Clouston you say "The expertise of the crews is of the highest standard" whilst this may be the case, so is the expertise of the Culdrose 771 squadron search and rescue, and alongside their dedication and expertise is their local knowledge.
Gill and molesworth you are so right, everything has changed so much over the years within Culdrose and the RNLI, like you Gill i had also forgotten about the maroons the RLNI used to use. molesworth you are right, it used to remind me of their bravery when i heard there was a shout. Some things have changed for the better and some things i think for the worse. Some were inevitable due to ever increasing security procedures ie the improvement to the fence surrounding Culdrose. Mike Clouston you say "The expertise of the crews is of the highest standard" whilst this may be the case, so is the expertise of the Culdrose 771 squadron search and rescue, and alongside their dedication and expertise is their local knowledge. Tyrone Shulace
  • Score: 0

5:47pm Wed 27 Mar 13

meerkats says...

I will miss seeing Father Christmas flying over Helston in the SAR helicopter . on a serious note though i think its a shame that it will now be based in Newquay ,time is of the essence in a lot of cases and it will take longer to reach many outlying rural places from there. Change isnt always for the better.
I will miss seeing Father Christmas flying over Helston in the SAR helicopter . on a serious note though i think its a shame that it will now be based in Newquay ,time is of the essence in a lot of cases and it will take longer to reach many outlying rural places from there. Change isnt always for the better. meerkats
  • Score: 0

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