Construction has begun on a new HM Coastguard search and rescue (SAR) helicopter base at Lydd Airport in the UK which will be operated by Bristow Helicopters.
The £7.8 million project will create a new focal point for the region’s SAR service and upgrade the facilities used by its crews. Construction of the base is expected to be completed by early February 2018.
Lydd airport is the final new-build base to be constructed for the UK SAR helicopter service which Bristow Helicopters began operating in April 2015 on behalf of HM Coastguard. Since 2015, SAR operations have been conducted at a temporary base at Lydd Airport.
Currently, there are ten coast guard bases around the UK that provide life-saving support on and offshore to the fishing and other marine industries, as well as to land-based incidents including mountain rescue, missing persons and other medical emergencies.
Each base is occupied by a group of dedicated pilots and specialist winchman paramedics, winch operators, engineers, and support staff, many of whom transferred to the new Coastguard SAR service from the former military operation. The project is being designed and built by Westridge Construction.
Nationwide, the UK SAR service has handled over 3,500 search and rescue missions since 1 April 2015.