Helicopter rescues on rise

COASTGUARD search and rescue helicopters in Scotland carried out nearly 300 missions last year.

Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides with 183 rescues had its busiest year since operations began there in 1987, while Sumburgh in Shetland recorded its highest total since the mid-1990s with 112 missions.

The increased range and speed of the Sikorsky S92 helicopter was a major factor in the Scottish bases carrying out more rescues. But the aircraft has had its controversy. In March all coastguard helicopters in Scotland were grounded because of safety fears.

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Damien Oliver, of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, said:

"The upward trend demonstrates how valuable Coastguard search and rescue helicopters are."