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Volume 14,Issue 3 Autumn 2012

China’s First Rescue Flight Team receives two new EC225 helicopters


The First Rescue Flight Team of the Ministry of Communications received two new EC225 large rescue helicopters on December 18th in Zhuhai Jiuzhou Airport. The timely delivery of the helicopters, bought for USD 25 million each, raised the number of the fleet’s rescue aircrafts to 11. The intent is to strengthen maritime rescue and salvage operations on the South China Sea. The First Rescue Flight Team will manage the two new helicopters with the help of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) Government Flight Service. The flight team is in charge of training pilots to carry out search and rescue missions. The present scale of the fleet of rescue helicopters under the disposal of the First Rescue Flight Team is relatively small, consisting of ten helicopters and one fixed-wing aircraft intended for maritime rescue and salvage service. By 2010, based on the Ministry of Communication’s development plan, it is expected that the number of helicopters for offshore rescue will reach 12, consisting of eight medium helicopters and four large helicopters. According to Director Song Jiahui of the Ministry of Communications Rescue and Salvage Bureau, the helicopters are highly reliable during search and rescue operations and show a higher efficiency rate compared with other rescue methods. According to the Rescue and Salvage Bureau, since the service began in early 2003, the existing fleet of helicopters used by the First Rescue Flight Team has collectively flown 518 successful missions and has been instrumental in saving 548 lives. Song said during the delivery ceremony that the Ministry of Communications is serious about establishing a concrete air rescue and salvage system.

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