Tynemouth RNLI lifeboats exercise with new HM Coastguard rescue helicopter

Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat volunteers have been put through their paces in a training exercise with one of the new Sikorsky search and rescue helicopters which are taking over from the RAF.Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat volunteers have been put through their paces in a training exercise with one of the new Sikorsky search and rescue helicopters which are taking over from the RAF.

From April, the familiar yellow Sea King, based at RAF Boulmer, will no longer be used by the Coastguard for search-and-rescue missions at sea.

It is being succeeded by the red and white HM Coastguard-liveried Sikorsky S-92, operated by Bristow Search and Rescue, who have been awarded the contract to operate the service for 10 years.

Ahead of the switch, a Sikorsky flew on Sunday from its Humberside base to the Tyne for an exercise to enable the aircrew and volunteer crews of Tynemouth RNLI inshore and all weather lifeboats to familiarise themselves with any new working techniques.

The Sikorsky S-92 is a larger aircraft, generating a more powerful downdraft from its rotor-blades.

The RNLI and Coastguard aircrew practised landing the winchman from the helicopter to the lifeboats, and a stretcher from the all weather lifeboat to the helicopter.

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