Cayman chopper sent to help Bahamas

| 05/09/2019 | 24 Comments
Cayman News Service
RCIPS helicopter and crew deployed to Bahamas

(CNS): The Bahamas Government has accepted the Cayman Islands’ offer of the use of the RCIPS helicopter to support relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, which devastated the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama, leaving at least 23 people dead, many in desperate need and much of the infrastructure flattened. The Cayman government has also pledged more assistance as needed.

A catastrophic and very slow moving hurricane, Dorian made landfall on 1 September, and after eventually leaving Abaco, it stalled over Grand Bahama for two days, pounding the island with category 5 winds and deadly storm surge.

A joint press release from Governor Martyn Roper and Premier Alden McLaughlin said the Bahamian authorities requested the helicopter on Wednesday and they gave their approval for it to make the trip later that same day.

The aircraft has deployed with two crew (two pilots and four technical flight officers) and it is anticipated that they will be supporting the rescue operation, performing evacuation flights and aerial surveillance.

The H145 Airbus helicopter was purchased as part of a joint deal with the UK to boost Cayman’s capability to carry out search and rescue, law enforcement and border protection operations, as well as to assist other British Overseas Territories and parts of the region during times of crisis.

The release noted that the chopper can be configured in various ways to take up to five passengers and three crew or two patients on stretchers or up to 500kg of cargo. Since its arrival in March 2019, it has airlifted 18 patients from Cayman Brac to Grand Cayman, so it is experienced in medical evacuations.

The governor said that one of the key reasons the UK had supported the Cayman Islands in acquiring a new helicopter was to help and support neighbouring nations in their time of need. “Sadly, we are having to deploy it much sooner than any of us would have hoped, but it is built for this very purpose and the pilots and crew are well versed with dealing with patients and flying over an island-based terrain,” he said.

McLaughlin said, “As Caribbean nations, we must stand together to support each other in these times of need. The Cayman Islands will do our part to support the Bahamas, starting with the deployment of the RCIPS helicopter and trained personnel at this time when they most need it.”

He added, “The government will provide other assistance as requested by the Bahamian Government. We remember all too clearly the effects of this kind of devastating storm and the tangible difference an aircraft and crew can make.”

The release from the governor and the premier said that if people want to make a contribution to the Disaster Relief Fund, they should refer to the Cayman Islands Red Cross Facebook page.

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Category: Caribbean, Commonwealth, Local News, World News

Comments (24)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Send them our 737s. If a helicopter is good for the soul, a couple of jets would be even better, right? None of CAL’s passengers pay anyway, so no loss there.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I know the canoe man them will be smiling, but it’s still worth the effort these people really got hit hard and they definitely need all hands on deck.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The airport is not destroyed

  4. Anonymous says:

    “Sometimes you have to do something not because it’s convenient or cost effective but because it is simply the right thing to do.” Comment at 8.51am. Never have I seen a more humbling statement that sums this up. Thank You

  5. Anonymous says:

    Not to take away from the good works that these men will do, but I have an idea that could temporarily help the people of the Bahamas.

    Many companies here feel the need to recruit offshore. The Grand Bahamas and Abaco tourist product will take years to rebuild. There are now many experienced, managers, chefs, servers, all components of tourism that have lost their livelihood.

    Employers, of course look within our shores first, but before you submit a permit for a person from the Philippines, India, Canada, Australia, Try and help a family in the region that so desperately needs help now.

    Perhaps the government would consider a one time seasonal (8 months and they have to leave for a minimum of 4 months) permit at a reduced or no cost.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah but who said those people want to abandon there homes for supposedly “greener pastures” ? Those same people you mentioned will be the ones imported. The Bahamas will be rebuilt bigger and stronger like they’ve done many times in the past. Just like here during Ivan. Don’t you think we have a big enough immigration problem already? Would you feel the same way if you and your family were about to be displaced to make space from another economic migrant ?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Alot of chiefs… Keep it here and keep our costs down.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Godspeed gents!

  8. Anonymous says:

    World Class!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Be proud Cayman. Some people talk, others stand up.

  10. Anonymous says:

    This is a nice ego flex for those bureaucrats accustomed to making promises with other people’s money. But pragmatically, do we have any surplus helicopter budget to go on fully-crewed international safari for weeks on end, for all of the independent non-FCO realm islands of the Caribbean, multiplied by every storm in the calendar? It’s fiscally imprudent to volunteer as first responders for the entire Caribbean region during hurricane season – risking our hardware, foregoing our own primary defense objectives, and bearing all the costs. Is it on us to buy 20 more of these? Meanwhile: the clean fuel, trained professionals, and thousands of military, police, and private helicopters are based just 60 miles away in Florida, and are already providing the airlift…

    • Anonymous says:

      1. It was funded for this exact purpose, and still is funded 2. You really don’t understand the problem 3. There are not enough of the ‘thousands’ stepping up to the plate, ten at the last count. 4. What have you ever done to save anyones life from your armchair – no I guessed not.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are a sick human being. I pray you never need help from someone else in a time of need.

      There is no safari or paradise in the Bahamas right now. They are facing dozens possibly hundreds of deaths and complete destruction of their airports on those affected islands.

      Military grade/search and rescue ambulance helicopters are desperately needed and your choice is Darwinism masked by pragmatism?


      • Anonymous says:

        Too much air traffic already – two 15nm no fly zones. Planes flying low with no transponders. It is chaotic. US gov hardware has been staged in Nassau for a week. It’s a nice gesture, but is it necessary, and our job? Debatable.

        • Travis says:

          big man doesn’t matter if it’s necessary or our job, there are people in the Bahamas who are suffering and dead & you come on CNS to comment this bullshit? Make me wonder if the person behind these comments are caymanian or not. Do you not know how bad hurricane ivan was when it hit Cayman, now just imagine Bahamas. They need all the help they can get & instead of taking your lazy ass to red cross and donate to victims of this storm, you spend your time commenting bullshit on here.

          • Anonymous says:

            Using this calamity as a pretext to show off our single solitary helicopter, is the real bullshit. Especially in a theatre where there are already too many aircraft.

    • Anonymous says:

      Kudos Cayman helicopter crew- be safe on this mission. Thank you for helping hands on with this disaster. Grateful there are brave people who go on these rescues.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sometimes you have to do something not because it’s convenient or cost effective but because it is simply the right thing to do. If more acts were done for that reason here in Cayman we would be in a better place.

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