96: All at Sea

Two days ago, while UK Armed Forces Minister Nick Harvey visited RAF Lossiemouth (under serious threat of closure now that RAF Marham has been deemed ‘too expensive’ to dispense with), a Tornado GR4 from the base flying an exercise over the Minch caught fire and crashed 6 miles NW of Rubha Reidh lighthouse (see 3rd pic in my Gallery).

The crew ejected in time and were soon plucked from the sea by the Stornoway Coastguard helicopter, with a Lossiemouth Sea King in support. Both crew are recovering in Raigmore Hospital. All concerned were delighted with the promptness of this textbook rescue.

Neatly ironic, then, that all elements involved are under equal threat: rescue helicopters are to be sold to the highest bidder and Stornoway Coastguard may also be closed (as Fife Ness and Leuchars might) ‘to save money’. Either air base that does not close will find an emaciated rescue system struggling to provide such service for their planes and pilots.

About davidsberry

Local councillor, tour guide and database designer. Keen on wildlife, history, boats and music. Stood for the Scottish Parliament 2011; lost by 151 votes.
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2 Responses to 96: All at Sea

  1. Ian says:

    Hi Dave, and thanks for the link to the blog.

    I’m not sure why you would say that the rescue services would necessarily be emaciated if the changes go ahead. There is no suggestion that the rescue helicopter service would be reduced in private ownership, in fact there is an argument that it may be more efficient. Few people doubt there are too many Coastguard Rescue Centres around the coast – not just in Scotland – and although I do believe the proposed cuts go too far, I’m not against some streamlining. 2 RNLI lifeboats were also tasked to that accident and of course, as an indepent charitable organisation under it’s own control, the coastguard cuts would have no impact on their service

    • davidsberry says:

      Ian:

      streamlining’s fine but with the long-range Nimrods coming out of service and the sheer dedication and intense training of service rescue choppers unlikely to be continued under bean-counters, I am wary of any loss of Coastguard coverage in Scotland. It’s a 10,000km coast (much longer than England’s) and needs much local knowledge for rescue co-ordinators to be effective (how many Aberdeen Coastguards know where the Lattie Doocot is?) At least the RNLI will stay intact but that’s only because it’s out of government control,
      regards
      Dave

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