A volunteer crew from a north-east port has teamed up with colleagues in the oil industry to run through daring rescue drills off the coast.
The joint exercise between the Fraserburgh RNLI lifeboat team and the pilots of Babcock International’s offshore rescue helicopter was staged at Fraserburgh Bay.
The lifeboat crew, aboard the Trent-class Willie and May Gall, practised forming up underneath the moving aircraft, then allowing it to hover overhead to begin winching casualties aboard.
Last night, Fraserburgh RNLI coxswain Victor Sutherland said it was important that his crew’s skills were regularly tested in readiness for a real disaster.
He said: “They phoned out of the blue on Thursday to see if they could organise something at night.
“It’s always good to get some training in with the Bond rescue chopper. Because we work hand-in-hand with them, be it searches or casualty transfer, it can be an invaluable opportunity.
“It helps build up a partnership between us all and makes sure we have everyone in place in terms of communication while on the boat.”
Mr Sutherland added that the helicopter was on the scene for about half-an-hour before returning to Dyce.
“Afterwards we did a recovery simulation,” he said.
“It all builds the skills we rely on.”
A spokesman for Babcock said: “Our guys are always training to ensure that they are fully prepared and equipped to respond to emergency scenarios.”
Thursday’s training exercise came just days after the tragic death of a man in Macduff.
Darren Paxton had been found in the water at the harbour by local youngsters who jumped in to pull him to safety before lifeboat crews could arrive.
He was taken by the coastguard to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary where he died on Tuesday morning.
Since the incident the police have urged people to be aware of the dangers of the water amid calls for the young rescuers to be awarded for their bravery.
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