Today marks the end of the search and rescue (SAR) helicopter service operated from Portland by CHC Helicopters Ltd. on behalf of Her Majesty’s Coastguard.
The Portland base began operating as a civilian service in 1995, providing a 12-hour search and rescue capability that served the western end of Hampshire through to South Wales.
Damien Oliver, Assistant Director for Aviation at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said: “We are immensely proud of all the crews, engineers and support staff who have worked at the Portland SAR helicopter base over the past 22 years. Over that period of time the Portland team has provided lifesaving services to the south of England for which we are hugely grateful.”
Keith Devaney, UK SAR Portland Base Manager at CHC Helicopters said: “It has been CHC Helicopter’s greatest honour to provide Search and Rescue services on behalf of Her Majesty’s Coastguard. Over the past ten years, we have worked together with many local agencies ensuring a seamless service which in turn supported our crews to deliver a lifesaving service, of which we are all extremely proud. As we depart Portland, I would like to thank all those who worked here over the years for their service to the people living and visiting the south coast of England.”
A new contract was awarded in 2013 to replace the mixture of military and civilian arrangements. The new service operates from ten bases across the UK using brand new state-of-the-art helicopters that can operate in all weathers and can rescue people from anywhere in the UK, even in the most difficult conditions.