SAR 2012: China rescue service to purchase eight new helicopters
The China Rescue and Salvage (CRS) service is planning to purchase eight additional medium helicopters during 2012, following a significant investment from the Chinese government.
In the next five years, the government plans to inject more than $2.1 billion into the organisation, according to Capt Jiahui Song, CRS director general, speaking at the SAR Europe conference in Dublin on 16 March.
CRS currently flies a total of 20 aircraft: four EC225s, eight S-76C++, two S-76As, three AS365N Dauphins and three Y-12 fixed wing aircraft.
Song said the service had been impressed by the range, lift and altitude capabilities of the EC225 in the SAR role and the priority for 2012 was the acquisition of more medium helicopters.
‘This year we are planning to acquire eight more helicopters, which will be medium or heavy helicopters but whether it is Eurocopter [EC225s] or the Sikorsky S-92, we don’t know yet. But these are the most useful for the SAR missions,’ Song told Shephard.
He noted that in recent years, the Chinese government has placed greater importance on the development of professional emergency response services, which currently employ 1.2 million people across China.
‘The Chinese government’s emphasis is to speed up the establishment of emergency response mechanisms and improve the government’s ability to deal with public crisis,’ Song said.
Investment will also be made in more modern SAR equipment and to further interoperability between services.
Song said the CRS was reaping the rewards of a comprehensive reform of the organisation in 2003.
Some 20 disparate organisations were integrated into one structure that now consists of three rescue services, three salvage services and four flying rescue services. Since the completion of the reforms, the service has rescued more than 30,000 people and recovered more than 2500 vessels.
The conference also heard from Song Yin, a co-pilot with Donghai No 1 Flying Service and one of the first female SAR pilots in China. After 15 months flight training in Australia from the end of 2008, Song Yin transitioned to the S-76C++ helicopter, and since December 2010 has participated in 35 sea rescue missions and successfully recovered 25 people.
Source: 16 March 2012 - Shephard News
Photo: China rescue service EC225 SAR (Photo by Shephard Group)