Skills tested in hi-line transfer practice

THE RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service and Yeppoon Coast Guard spent a wet and wild Wednesday on Keppel Bay, training crew and paramedics in water rescue last week.

Both rescue organisations spent the day honing their skills for the challenging job of sea rescues.

Training included hoist rescue involving hi-line transfer, deployment of a life raft to the vessel, diver drops and open-water rescue.

Hovering low over the Coast Guard vessel Gorman's Removals, the CHRS chopper first performed a flyover.

"It's a dummy run to check the speed of the boat, choose a spot to hoist, check the boat for obstacles and the performance of the aircraft," senior air crewman Matt Brandon said.

Matt has been working with CHRS for three-and-a-half years.

Returning to the boat, a rope attached to a wire was dropped on to the deck using a weight, which was then secured by the crew on board the vessel as the chopper moved back. Crewman Dave Patterson was lowered down the wire to the slowly motoring vessel and then prepared to assist paramedic Darren Pirie down the wire.

Once on board, both crew and paramedic were hoisted back up by the helicopter and the highline transfer was repeated to give all crew the chance to practise.

"The usual crew on board during a rescue is a pilot, two air crewmen and a paramedic or doctor," Matt said.

"Rescue at sea can be really interesting," he said, recounting tales of rescues from cruise ships and fishermen sitting on the bow of their boats waiting for help.



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