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Tragedy proves need for helicopter
11:00am Tuesday 22nd May 2012 in Your letters
LAST week’s tragic loss of the crew of the Purbeck Isle has again highlighted the importance of the search and rescue helicopter at Portland.
Unfortunately, in the coverage of this event in Saturday’s Echo a somewhat misleading statement by the chairman of the Wey-mouth & Portland Licenced Fisherman’s Association appears.
With this coming on top of the inaccurate assertions by both the Secretary of State for Transport and Prime Minister regarding the consequences of the planned closure of the Portland operation I trust Mr Pitman will not object to the record being corrected.
It was said that ‘the Portland helicopter doesn’t have the facilities of Lee-on-Solent which is able to search at night’.
This was perhaps a reference to the fact that the Portland base is not on duty overnight.
Its aircraft have the same capabilities as those at Lee, a pool of three machines being shared by the two sites.
Also, within crew operating hour limits mandated by the Civil Aviation Authority, it operates beyond the established 12-hour duty period when necessary.
For the record on Thursday May 17 Portland’s aircraft deployed at around 19.45hrs and stood down at 01.15hrs on Friday, clearly searching most of this time in darkness.
In view of the campaign to save the Portland operation it is important that the readership is informed of the true situation. Regrettably, I feel sure that those in power have no interest.
Keith Peckover, Augusta Road, Portland