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Mountain Rescue Team helicopter training

A new type of helicopter has been put through its paces in the Lake District, before it starts coming to the aid of walkers who get into trouble on the fells. Rescue teams from across Cumbria have been given training today, to see how the new aircraft differs from the RAF Sea King, which has been used for decades. Jenny Longden reports.

New Helicopter for Lake District Mountain Rescue

The new helicopter in action Credit: ITV Border

Training has taken place to familiarise Mountain Rescue volunteers with a new helicopter to be used in search and rescue missions.

The Sikorsky S92 was flown in to Thirlmere in the Lake District this morning.

From April it will replace some of the RAF Sea King helicopters used by Mountain Rescue teams across the UK, after the contract for Mountain Rescue helicopters was awarded to Bristow Helicopter Ltd in 2013.

A slightly different helicopter, the Agusta Westland AW189, will be used by the Lake District team when it arrives at Prestwick next January.

The new helicopters are slightly bigger, faster and more powerful than the Sea King.

Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association Chairman Richard Warren said:

This is state of the art, the rotor blades are heated so it doesn't ice up, it has got GPS so that it can hover very very carefully over a location, it is faster, bigger, takes a bigger payload, takes two stretchers, 11 team members, so yeah, it has got a rear ramp, so it has got all the bits and pieces plus a double winch so, fingers crossed we are going to get a really good service from Bristow.

– Richard Warren, Lake District Mountain Rescue Team Association
Team members are briefed inside the helicopter Credit: ITV Border

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Mountain rescue teams training day in Lakes

Nine mountain rescue teams from Cumbria are taking part in a joint training day in the Lake District.

The day will consist of team members being trained to use the new Sikorsky helicopter, which is more modern and larger than the Sea King.

Two groups of 30 mountain rescuers will each be put through morning and afternoon training sessions.

The teams taking part are:

  • Cockermouth MRT
  • Cumbria Ore Mines Rescue Unit (COMRU)
  • Coniston MRT
  • Duddon and Furness MRT
  • Langdale and Ambleside MRT
  • Kendal MRT
  • Keswick MRT
  • Kirby Stephen MRT
  • Wasdale MRT

Fundraiser for new mountain rescue vehicle

The Tweed Valley Control vehicle needs to be replaced Credit: Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team

A fundraising campaign has been launched to replace the control vehicle used by Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team.

The charity, which is made up of on-call volunteers, are asking members of the public to buy a 'virtual pint' online, by donating the cost of a pint to their cause.

They want to buy a new £60,000 state of the art vehicle, equipped with technology such as a satellite data connection, touch screen computers for search planning and the most up to date communications equipment.

The current vehicle is 15 years old.

More information can be found here.

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New leader appointed for Galloway Mountain Rescue

Ken Mackenzie has replaced Mike McCann as Team Leader. Credit: Galloway Mountain Rescue Team

A new team leader has been appointed for Galloway Mountain Rescue Team.

Ken Mackenzie joined the team in 2002 and had been Deputy Team Leader since 2011. He officially became Team Leader at the team's Annual General Meeting on 29th October.

He will replace Mike McCann who has been the Team Leader for three years.

"It's an honour to take on the leadership role for such a dedicated group of volunteers. I'm sure the next three years will provide a few challenges but I'm looking forward to these opportunities."

– Ken Mackenzie, Team Leader of Galloway Mountain Rescue

Twenty four people saved by Mountain Rescue in one week

A warning has been issued about the dangers of venturing onto the high-fells.

Rescue services in the county have already saved 24 people so far this week.

One call-out involved a family of four and their dog, who, on Wednesday afternoon, called for help after getting stuck on Scafell pike.

24 people Saved by mountain rescue this week Credit: ITV Border News

Full report: mountain rescue

Mountain rescue teams in the Lake District have been called out twice in the past 36 hours to help people caught out by the weather it follows the death of a woman who was hiking near Wastwater on Friday.

They're once again asking walkers to be prepared and check the forecast before venturing onto Cumbria's mountains.

Katie Hunter has this report.

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