Rescue pushed the helicopters to the limit

Sea King helicopter rescueSea King helicopter. Photo: Torstein Bøe / NTB scanpix

Rescue mission pushed the helicopters to the limit

“The evacuation of so many cruise passengers in a storm is at the very limit of what rescue helicopters can handle,” according to the 330 squadron.

The Main Rescue Centre Southern Norway regards the situation of the cruise ship Viking Sky as stable on Sunday afternoon. The ship is expected to reach Molde between 4 and 5 pm.

“The healthcare system is ready to accept the passengers who are left on the ship. They have been manning up the emergency preparedness since the night before Sunday,” Chief of Police of the Southwest Police District, Hans Vik, informs at a press conference on Sola on Sunday.

Danish support

The Main Rescue Centre (HRS) received help from both the Danish and Swedish rescue services. They took care of the monitoring in the Skagerrak while the Norwegian resources concentrated on the rescue operation.

“A Danish rescue helicopter flew to Kjevik to be stand-by there,” Rescue Inspector Of HRS, Ståle Jamtli, states.

“Extra crews were flown up so that we secured enough and rested crew throughout the operation,” he continues.


Major Fredrik Jomaas, who is department head for the 330 squadron at Sola, believes that the squadron balanced on the limit of what they are capable of during the dramatic hours.

“The weather conditions, scale, and duration made the assignment very demanding. There are challenges at the very limit of what rescue helicopters can cope with,” he explains.

“It is obvious that an incident of this kind is not everyday stuff for the helicopter crews. We have had helicopters continuous in the air for 19 hours above waves up to 15 meters tall, ”Jomaas continues.

The coordination of the rescue operation has gone smoothly, and a new helicopter has been in place as soon as the helicopter over the casualty has picked up its human load.

“We have taken on board between 15 and 20 persons in each lift and carried out approximately 15 evacuations during these hours,” concludes Major Jomaas.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today
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