The AGL helicopter pilot and crewman, along with lifesavers and a police motor launch, train off Nielson Park Beach.
The AGL helicopter pilot and crewman, along with lifesavers and a police motor launch, train off Nielson Park Beach. Scottie Simmonds

Chopper crew shows off skills

BEACHGOERS got a rare glimpse of the AGL Action Rescue Helicopter in action on Saturday when the crew was put through its paces in a biannual training exercise.

The exercise tested one of the most difficult and demanding skills in their repertoire - water winching.

"Thankfully, they are skills we don't need to call on often, but when we do, we have to get it right, that's why training is so important," check and training aircrew officer Shannon Gardner said.

"This exercise tests the pilot's skills controlling the aircraft over water and the crewman's skills in rescue techniques."

The mock exercise began with the deployment of a dummy life raft.

The rescue crew was then winched into the water to swim to a stricken vessel nearby before being winched off the boat and back to the helicopter.

Phase two of the training exercise included a 6m surf jump from the helicopter into the water.

Techniques for recovering a patient suffering hypothermia, and rescue basket retrieval techniques were also drilled.

"We rely on community donations to fund more than a third of our operational costs and this (gave) the community a chance to see the helicopter and check out what we do," Mr Gardner said.



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