During the early hours of January 15, the Netherlands Coastguard mobilized on-call aircrew to respond to the emergency call of a man overboard about 3.5 nautical miles offshore.
The AW189 helicopter aircrew took off from the Bristow base in Den Helder, north of Netherlands, and immediately headed to the area to search and rescue the sailor. The weather conditions were difficult, with stormy weather, but with the help of the helicopter avionic systems and the night vision goggles (NVG), the rescue aircrew were soon able to locate the sailor floating at sea, initiate the hoist operation to lower the rescue swimmer and safely hoist the man.
“Conditions were very challenging, in the dark with high winds and strong seas, but the team did a tremendous job and soon got the man on board, before quickly transferring him directly to hospital. It was a textbook rescue,” said Bristow Netherlands director James Lorraine.
However, the night was not over for the aircrew of the AW189 rescue helicopter. Shortly after rescuing the sailor at sea and transferring him to hospital, the Netherlands Coastguard received another man overboard call, this time in nearby German waters. While the rescue crew was flying to the area to search the castaway, luckily the mariners from another vessel were able to locate him and get him on board. Although the man was rescued from the sea, it was necessary for him to receive immediate medical attention and the SAR helicopter aircrew performed the medevac and transport the injured man to a German airfield where emergency medical services (EMS) were waiting with an ambulance.
The rescue aircrew of the AW189 helicopter from the Netherlands Coast Guard consisted of six people: Commander Martin Taal, First Officer Jurjen Engel, winch operator Marvin de Jong, rescue swimmer Bart Haveman, SAR nurse Sjaak Camphens and engineer Dennis Sijm.
“This is a real confirmation of the excellent SAR service that Bristow can offer, and after we all worked so hard to get this service up and running just a few months ago, it’s great to see him getting so much positive recognition for successful operations. James Lorraine said.
Commander Martin Taal added: «Of course we don’t do what we do to get media attention, but for the people of the Netherlands and our client, learning about what we do and being able to demonstrate the real value of saving lives is incredibly motivating for all of us,» «I want to thank the entire team, and all those in Bristow who support us, for all their efforts on this change and all the others.»