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HRH The Princess Royal visited the Bristow-operated HM Coastguard search-and-rescue (SAR) base at Lee-on-Solent on July 13, 2017, and the Coastguard’s technical training center at Daedalus, to mark 100 years of flying at the site.
Her Royal Highness was welcomed to the helicopter base by Vice Lord-Lieutenant Lindsay Fox and taken on a tour of the base by director of maritime operations for the Maritime & Coastguard Agency Richard Parkes.
During her 40-minute visit, the Princess Royal was introduced to the Bristow duty crew: Capt James Lorraine, Senior First Officer Laura Hearnshaw, winchman paramedic Al Drummond, winch operator Chas Mc Donagh and engineers Colin Pettit and Bob Herbert. She then toured the new AW189 helicopters to learn about the helicopters’ capabilities and ground-breaking technology, which are designed to undertake long-range, high endurance SAR missions in demanding operational and environmental conditions.
Her Royal Highness then had the opportunity to watch a cliff rescue class at the Daedalus multi-purpose training center – where the SAR teams are technically trained for mud, water, cliff and rope rescues.
“We were delighted to welcome HRH The Princess Royal to the Lee-on-Solent Coastguard helicopter base and HM Coastguard’s Daedalus Training Centre,” said Parkes. “This was a brilliant opportunity for our helicopter crews and Coastguard rescue teams to showcase their dedication and skill, affirming that Her Majesty’s Coastguard, recognized as one of the best in the world, continues to deliver a remarkable search-and-rescue service.”
“HRH The Princess Royal was very knowledgeable about SAR and shared her views on the enduring Royal Navy requirement for rescue at sea,” said UK SAR director Russell Torbet. “She was very impressed by our capabilities and that we had harnessed the military expertise through managed transition. She appeared to enjoy her time with the Bristow team and left with a very favorable impression of our professionalism and capability.”