Longer range rescue craft to start operating in June

Fri, May 11, 2012, 01:00

A new fleet of search and rescue helicopters to be rolled out from next month will provide the Irish Coast Guard with greater capacity to carry out emergency missions.

Irish Coast Guard operations manager Declan Geoghegan said the first of the new S-92 Sikorsky helicopters would begin operations at Shannon next month, to be followed in the next year with similar new aircraft at Sligo, Waterford and Dublin.

“The new S-92s have a greater range and a greater speed capability – they can go out 270 miles and reach speeds of 165 knots compared to the 200-mile range and 130 knots currently available with the S-61s, which are being replaced,” he said.

“The S-92 is a more powerful aircraft so she can also carry more casualties over greater distance, while she offers a more stable platform for winching.”

Mr Geoghegan was speaking prior to a ceremony yesterday to mark the 10th anniversary of the arrival of the Irish Coast Guard search and rescue helicopter, Rescue 117, at Waterford Airport.