Bristow Helicopters wins search and rescue award


Newquay Coastguard Rescue Helicopter on exercise on the North Cornwall Coast

Rescuing a surfer stranded at sea for 32 hours has won Bristow Helicopters a Sikorsky Winged-S Rescue Award.

The award was presented by Sikorsky yesterday at the 2017 Defence and Security Equipment International exhibition in London.

The rescue happened in May, when a Bristow crew flying an S-92 helicopter from Prestwick coastguard station on Scotland’s west coast rescued 22-year-old surfer Matthew Bryce off the coast of Northern Ireland. He’d been missing at sea for 32 hours and was found after a six-hour search and rescue mission, and taken to hospital in Belfast.

Bristow Helicopters operates S-92 helicopters on behalf of the UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency, for search and rescue missions. It has carried out about 4,500 such missions since April 2015.

Neil Ebberson, project manager, Bristow UK Search and Rescue, said: “Bristow is proud to operate the S-92 helicopter to fulfil the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s mission to save lives, and our team is honoured to receive this recognition.

“Sikorsky’s legacy in lifesaving, coupled with the latest technology of the S-92 helicopter, provides an outstanding solution for the high operational demands of our SAR business.”

UK MCA Aviation assistant director Damien Oliver added: “We have been successfully operating S-92 helicopters for more than ten years. The high reliability of our fleet throughout that time has been absolutely critical to our time-sensitive mission.”

Sikorsky began the Winged-S Rescue Award Program in 1950, to honour people who carry out rescues using its helicopters. It “acknowledges the humanitarian efforts of pilots and crew members who put themselves in harm’s way to save others, fulfilling Igor Sikorsky’s vision of the helicopter,” said a company spokeswoman.