“Rescue 117” program features Irish Coast Guard SAR

“Rescue 117” program features Irish Coast Guard SAR

21-Sep-2010 Source: RTÉ Television

For the first time ever RTÉ cameras have been given exclusive access to the Irish Coast Guard’s helicopter Search and Rescue service. Filmed over six months, RTÉ cameras follow the rescue crews at Waterford helicopter base (RESCUE 117) as they battle to save lives in one of the most hostile environments in the world. Leading some of the most dramatic rescues ever caught on film is chief pilot Dara Fitzpatrick who is one of only a handful of female civilian rescue pilots in the world.

Highlights from the series include exclusive footage of a plane crash off Tusker Rock, the dramatic rescue of three RNLI volunteers, the dash to save a baby’s life and the vivid rescue of a woman stranded by incoming tides.

In a first for Irish television we see 18 different rescues, in operations ranging from airlifts from ships on the high seas, to mountain rescues, and medical evacuations, and we capture Dara and her crew’s battle to save lives in graphic detail.

Dara Fitzpatrick has over 20 years flying experience. She is chief pilot in Waterford since 2002. She describes her job as “challenging and exciting”.

The Irish Coast Guard helicopters are fitted with forward-looking infra radar (FLIR) to detect the heat signature of a person. RTÉ put fixed cameras in the cockpit, and cabin of the helicopter and also attached pencil cams to the helmets of the winch crew.

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