“The RAF responded to 51 incidents from the Central Midlands within the last 24 hours (RAF normally would expect to respond to 2 -4 incidents over same period) and airlifted over 100 people to safety. Four RAF Sea Kings attended the Gloucester floods from bases as far away as RAF Valley on Anglesey in North Wales, RAF Chivenor in North Devon, RAF Leconfield near Hull and RAF St Mawgan in Cornwall. They were joined by their colleagues from the Maritime and Coast Guard Agency helicopter base at Lee-On-Solent during Saturday (21 Jul 07).
An experienced RAF search and rescue aircraft pilot/captain, Flight Lieutenant Andy McGreevy, was deployed on Friday afternoon with specialist communications equipment from RAF Chivenor near Barnstaple in North Wales to the civilian Joint Emergency Response Centre in Gloucestershire. Upon arrival, Flight Lieutenant McGreevy assisted the civilian emergency services and local authorities by acting as the Helicopter Liaison Office, co-ordinating air rescue operations over the flooded areas of Gloucester. As rescue operations move into their second day, this role is now being fulfilled by another experienced RAF pilot, Flight Lieutenant Holly Steele. Two RAF Sea King helicopters continued search and rescue operations over Gloucester as Saturday moves from day into evening. The RAF is able to conduct sustained operations as it uniquely operates with a second standby aircraft and aircrew at each of its 6 detached helicopter flights around the United Kingdom. This enables the RAF to conduct protracted search and rescue operations over several days. The RAF is the predominant Service for overland, airborne search and rescue within the United Kingdom. Over 50% of the rescues performed by the RAF last year took place inland.”
Editor: Sqn Ldr Dave Webster, Search & Rescue Media and Communications Officer
Photographer: Mr Alec Collyer - BBC News
Image 1: (Larger image) An elderly lady is winched to safety by RAF search and rescue winchman, Flight Sergeant Chris Scurr from her house in the suburbs of Gloucester.
Image 2: (Larger image) A terrier dog had to be winched to safety after its owner had been rescued from a house in a suburb of Gloucester on Saturday, 21 July 2007. Making the unusual rescue was RAF search and rescue force winchman/paramedic, Flight Sergeant Chriss Scurr (lower, right).
Image 3: (Larger image) A terrier dog reaches safety after being rescued, along with its owne, from a flooded suburb of Gloucester on Saturday, 21 July 2007. The RAF responded to 51 incidents and rescued more than 100 people trapped in a variety of situations by 6 inches of rainfall which fell over the central midlands.
Image 4: (Larger image) Two men are winched to safety by a RAF search and rescue crew from their flooded hom in Gloucester. RAF winchman/paramedic, Flight Sergeant Chris Scurr can be seen in his orange immersion suit, still on the roof of the garage, checking the building for any remaining trapped survivors.