E Flight, 202 Squadron based at Normandy Barracks near Beverley, North Yorkshire, has taken part in a simulated casualty evacuation exercise from the central tower of York Minster.
As RAF SAR continue to deal with more urban search and rescue scenarios, they were asked to reacquaint themselves with the problem of plucking potential casualties from the public access cage on top of the central tower of York Minster.
As with many structures, the problem of removing casualties to care through narrow passages can only be resolved by airlift and constant training ensures this kind of scenario can be dealt with by our RAF Search And Rescue flights.
Commanding Officer of E Flight at Leconfield, Sqn Ldr Stu Gwinnutt commented:
“The RAF SAR Force specialises in extracting people from near inextricable situations so when Rebecca Thompson, the Superintendent of Works at York Minster, enquired as to whether we’d be interested in carrying out a training exercise to assess the obstacles at the top of the tower we jumped at the chance.”
“The winching exercise itself was fairly uneventful but for us to operate in the centre of York is somewhat unusual.”
“202 Squadron has been involved in similar rescues in the past, notably at Durham Cathedral, when a member of the public collapsed at the top of their tower and our capability proved to be crucial in getting the casualty to definitive care as soon as possible, without a very long carry down a spiral stair case.”
York Minster is in a constant process of repair and renewal with over fifty craftsman and stone masons.
Superintendent Rebecca Thompson, who is responsible for the Minster craftspeople said: “I’m very pleased with the exercise, it showed the true professionalism of the RAF Search and Rescue team and gives reassurance that in the case of emergency we have the best response available.”