Chopper providing vital assistance to Bahamas

| 10/09/2019 | 34 Comments

(CNS): The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service helicopter, which was deployed to the Bahamas last week to help with relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, flew 21 flights in the first three days, according to the RCIPS. The H145 helicopter is based in Nassau, from where the two crews, working round the clock, are taking multiple daily flights to the effected islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama, airlifting injured people to safety as well as transporting essential specialists and vital equipment.

Describing the work of the crew so far, Tactical Flight Officer Neil Mohammed, said, “We deployed very quickly into the field, delivering supplies and specialists. On Sunday we took six flights to Abaco, extending from Marsh Harbour to Coopers Town. The Air Ops crew transported United Nations specialists to assess humanitarian aid requirements. We delivered specialist technicians to start recovering the hospital on Abaco, and we have been evacuating displaced people, including on one flight, two babies, who were evacuated to Nassau. There’s still so much more we can do.”   

The RCIPS Air Operations Unit has been working alongside the Royal Navy vessel, RFA Mounts Bay, in their relief efforts, police said, noting that the two teams meet each year to plan for disasters such as this. The Cayman helicopter crews have now been tasked with supporting British efforts, including the transfer of personnel, blood and medical supplies.

The UK minister with responsibility for the overseas territories, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, who visited the Cayman Islands at the end of June and accompanied the AOU on a training exercise with RFA Mounts Bay’s Wildcat helicopter, sent thanks to the RCIPS crew via social media. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab updated Parliament yesterday on how the UK is helping the Bahamas, highlighting that the Cayman helicopter had been deployed.

The aircraft was sent to the Bahamas last week with two crews, comprising two pilots, Nigel Pitt and Richard Morcombe, and four tactical flight officers, Mohammed, Ronnie Pollard, Greg Banks Jr and Daniel McIlhagga. An additional pilot, Captain Elaine Hunter, joined the AOU crew on Monday. The crew was also joined on Saturday by their Arrow Aviation engineer, Alex Bordelon, to carry out preventative maintenance checks during the deployment.

At the request of the Bahamas Government, the helicopter will continue its support of relief efforts, police said. The extension of its deployment has been approved by Governor Martyn Roper and Premier Alden McLaughlin.

Saying that the RCIPS helicopter crews were “working tirelessly in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian”, the governor also noted how important it was that the RCIPS Air Operations Unit and RFA Mounts Bay trained together. “I’d like to thank all the crew for their efforts in what must be an extremely difficult environment,” he added.

The premier said, “As we approach the fifteenth anniversary of Ivan this Wednesday, many of us will remember the support we were offered by our Caribbean brothers and sisters during our time of need. The images we are seeing following Dorian will bring back many memories of not just Ivan but also Hurricane Paloma that impacted Cayman Brac in November 2008. We stand ready to offer the Bahamians further support if required.”

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Comments (34)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Heroes every one of them.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Just heard a group here is collecting gently used clothing…. Do none of you pay any attention?
    Please read this old article regarding the earthquake in Haiti among other disasters where they were inundated with unneeded clothing…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Let’s get that second chopper!

  4. Anonymous says:

    GREAT work. We continue to pray for the people of the Bahamas.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Don’t people in the Bahamas have boats? It seems to me the better off and lesser hit islands could step up here and it wouldn’t be as costly. Just a thought.

    • anon says:

      11.32amThere’s 70,000 homeless, I don’t think Bahamians own any cruiseships.

    • Anonymous says:

      You sound like you never ever needed help. What is wrong with your brains anyway? It is so good that our chopper and personnel can help out. I hope we never have to go through another Ivan or Dorian but we can never become selfish and smug.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sure, if this had blown through Rose Island maybe. Abaco and Grand Bahama are over 100 clicks each way from New Providence. You’re welcome to try that midnight run with a load of Haitian strangers.

    • Anonymous says:

      They have been running boats, and jet skis. But boats only work up to the coastline (and then only a ‘hard’ coastline where you can get people and boat together easily). I’m not a financial fan of the helicopter but in situations like this they’re better than a boat. Think of Brac to LC. If you want to transport a doctor or a patient the helicopter is faster than the boat. Sure you’ll use the boat for the ‘low priority’ transports. Those people who can walk to the dock to catch the boat. But if you’ve got an ‘inland’ town (I know, we’re islands) that you can clear a landing pad then the helicopter can get in and out better and faster than you can get from the coast to the town.

    • Anonymous says:

      I believe they had boats, yes…then there was a hurricane…

  6. Anonymous says:

    Keep up the good work. All the best for a safe & successful mission.

  7. Anonymous says:

    ECMWF weather modeling simulates an area of convection forming east of Jamaica by next Wednesday (18th), with deepening organization and convection moving westerly threatening Cuba/Brac/Little Cayman by next Thursday (19th). GFS has it curving northwards towards Bahamas as a stronger storm. This short-fuse situation doesn’t seem to be part of the NOAA NHC tracking or commentary at the moment.,20.043,-79.393,8

    • Anonymous says:

      Ahh fearmongering.

      • Anonymous says:

        Early days, but you’ll be happy to hear “Disturbance 3” has revised northeast of us for Turks & Bahamas late next week. ECMWF, an ensemble forecast of 51 computer simulations, at this time of year, is the best weather predictive technology available.

    • Anonymous says:

      Meanwhile an asteroid is heading to Earth by the 17th!

    • Anonymous says:

      10:20AM – Are you thinking that none of us pay attention to what’s headed our way?
      That is why you are being called a fear monger. Always gotta have one of those around…

  8. Say it like it is says:

    Great job by the helicopter crew. I terms of assistance this was absolutely invaluable. Thanks to Govt as well for authorizing it.

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