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We all have our Sea King Stories

big bad john

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Notice who the RAF had to borrow the equipment from...  it just prove God DOES wear a Green Beret!


Sea King rescued after a week in the snow
7 Mar 06
An RAF Sea King rescue helicopter, stranded 3000 feet up in the Cairngorm Mountains since being abandoned during a rescue last week, was finally flown out of the hills last night, Monday 6 March 06.

A major operation to recover the ten-ton aircraft finally paid off when aircrew and engineers succeeded in thawing out and starting the helicopter in Coire an Sneachda (Corrie of the snow) near Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands.

The helicopter, from RAF Lossiemouth was engaged in the rescue of a walker with a broken ankle on the evening of Monday 27 February when a sudden, violent blizzard forced it to land at the bottom of the corrie. The weather had caused serious icing on the rotor blades, rendering the aircraft un-flyable.

Attempts to recover the helicopter since then proved impossible due to seriously adverse weather conditions, which included low cloud, heavy snow, together with biting cold winds and temperatures well below zero. The casualty had to be looked after for several hours by members of the Cairngorms civilian mountain rescue team and the RAF Kinloss team before being carried off the hill.

Flight Lieutenant Darren French from RAF Lossiemouth, who flew the aircraft on the two-mile, four minute journey, said:

"This was a prolonged operation where the weather proved the main factor. It was quite incredible that the sun came out in the final hours to help the efforts of the engineers.

"Both engines started first time and after a moment to check out some slight vibration we were on our way. There were no problems at all during the flight. We landed with less than ten minutes of daylight left."

The combined efforts of RAF aircrew and engineers together with a Royal Navy team succeeded in thawing out the aircraft, getting it started and flying it the two miles to Glenmore Lodge near Aviemore - the national Scottish outdoor centre where it remained overnight before a further inspection in the morning.

The Royal Navy team from 845 Naval Air Squadron at Yeovilton provided Arctic defrosting equipment including generators and pipes, as used to defrost Royal Marine Commando Sea Kings in northern Norway. This equipment was flown up to the site as three separate underslung loads beneath another Lossiemouth helicopter. A Naval mobile air operations team was also involved.

Photo 1)  Stranded 3000 feet up, the RAF Sea King rescue helicopter before it was recovered.
[Picture: RAF]