A Cornish helicopter base is the England’s busiest search and rescue unit, new Government figures have shown.
RNAS Culdrose, near Helston, is home to 771 Naval Air Squadron who are on call around the clock, 365 days a year and operate in some of the most inhospitable weather conditions.
During 2013, 771 Squadron’s duty helicopter was called out 257 times. It moved 212 people, with an average flying time of one hour and 28 minutes on task and was sent to jobs at an average of 35 miles away from the base.
Of England’s five SAR stations, Culdrose was the busiest. Culdrose was the third busiest unit in the country behind her sister Royal Navy Station, HMS Gannet in Scotland, which had 329 call-outs, and RAF Valley in North Wales which had 335 call outs.
Commander Martin Shepherd, Commanding Officer of 771 NAS, said his team did a great job.
“I am constantly impressed with the professionalism and determination of the service personnel and civilian staff who strive to ensure the aircraft are available 24 hours, every day”, he said.
“Yet again, this has been a very busy year for the Royal Navy SAR Force, which in 2013 celebrated its 60th anniversary. 2014 has got off to an even busier start and we continue to stand ready to come to the assistance of those in need.”
Commander Andrew Rose, the Sea King Force Commander said “The red and grey livery of 771 NAS Sea Kings over the Cornish Skies is a reassuring sight to many fishermen, residents and holiday makers throughout the year.”