RCIPS chopper back from Bahamas

| 13/09/2019

(CNS Local Life): During its 6-day deployment to the Bahamas following the passing of catastrophic Hurricane Dorian, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service helicopter, X-ray One, flew 42 missions from Nassau to the devastated islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama, carried 125 passengers, including eight young children and 20 adult evacuees, and shipped desperately needed items, such as tarpaulins and communications equipment, to many inaccessible locations.

The chopper and its crew worked with the Bahamas Defence Force, UN agencies, the British military and the British High Commissioner and her team to deliver vital aid, conduct reconnaissance, deliver specialist personnel and evacuate vulnerable people from the worst affected areas, according to a joint release from Governor Martyn Roper and Premier Alden McLaughlin. 

With its mission accomplished, X-ray One returned to Cayman Thursday afternoon (12 September) and the RCIPS Air Operations Unit will now resume its regular law enforcement, search and rescue and medical evacuation duties in the Cayman Islands.

The release said that the airfields in Abaco and Grand Bahama are now becoming more operational and able to accommodate relief flights using fixed wing aircraft. Therefore, the decision was made to bring the team home. 

Announcing the planned delivery of a second helicopter for the Cayman Islands in December, Roper and McLaughlin said, “The contribution that the RCIPS has been able to make to relief efforts in the Bahamas on our behalf is something that Cayman can be proud of. Their impact on the ground was immediate and substantial. We were particularly struck by the smiling faces of the children they rescued from such terrible conditions.

“The Air Operations Unit provides a vital service at home and enables us to support those in need overseas, whether they are our fellow overseas territories or independent states in the region.”

They continued, “The decision to purchase a second H145 helicopter to provide resilience and further enhance this capacity has been announced previously but we are delighted to confirm that the purchase arrangements are now in place with Airbus Helicopters and the new helicopter will be delivered in December this year.”         

The team’s efforts have been praised by many, including the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Commander, the World Food Programme (WFP), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and Overseas Territories Minister Lord Ahmad. 

British High Commissioner to the Bahamas Sarah Dickson said, “The devastation is extensive and truly shocking, but the crew of X-Ray One… are old hands from Hurricanes Maria and Irma and approached the job with professionalism and a quiet calm that has been invaluable.”

Thanking the Cayman Islands for its help, she added, “The last two weeks will be firmly etched on my mind for a long time but part of those memories will be the enormous contribution everyone has made and the fantastic teamwork.”

Read more about X-ray One in the Bahamas and see more photos: Chopper providing vital assistance to Bahamas


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Category: Civil Service, Local News, Police

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