A CHC Helicopter crew has been recognised for bravery with a Sikorsky Rescue Award after completing a successful SAR mission using an S-92. Sikorsky president Dan Schultz presented the Winged-S Rescue Award at Heli-Expo.
Based in Statfjord in Norway, the crew saved two sailors in the midst of a storm in late November by navigating the S-92 aircraft through winds of up to 80 miles an hour. The sailors had sent out a mayday call after their boat was caught in waves more than 30 feet high.
“Since the sailing boat was adrift and laying perpendicular to the waves, it was impossible to pick up the survivors straight from their sailing boat,” chief pilot Patrick Gerritsen remembers. “The mast of the sailing boat was sweeping dangerously, while the boat was being rocked sideways by the waves.”
The crew instructed the sailors to jump overboard to be winched to safety while keeping contact with the vessel. Within 20 minutes of their arrival, both survivors had been pulled aboard the S-92 helicopter and were receiving treatment. The boat sunk shortly after the rescue, but due to the quick work of the CHC crew and the search and rescue capabilities of the S-92 aircraft, both individuals were unharmed.
“We are honoured to recognise CHC today for this achievement and for fulfilling our founder Igor Sikorsky's vision of the helicopter as a life-saving machine,” says Schultz. “This team demonstrated a commitment to saving lives, no matter the danger to themselves. We are proud to recognise aircrews who continue to reflect Sikorsky's mission to bring people home safely everywhere, every time."
President and CEO of CHC Karl Fessenden adds: “On behalf of all of us at CHC, I want to thank Sikorsky for helping us honour the crew responsible for this rescue. These brave men gladly risk their lives to save others and count on having a reliable rotorcraft behind them every time they enter harm's way. The S-92 remains a key staple of our global search and rescue fleet and plays a major role in taking care of our crews and passengers throughout the world.”
CHC currently operates eight S-92s configured for SAR operations worldwide.