Coast Guard conducts cliff, vertical surface rescues in preparation for hurricane season

Coast Guard helicopter crews conduct cliff and vertical surface rescue scenarios April 29 and 30, 2015, at Harbor Island, near Port Aransas, Texas, in preparation for the upcoming hurricane season. U.S. Coast Guard photo

Coast Guard helicopter crews conduct cliff and vertical surface rescue scenarios April 29 and 30, 2015, at Harbor Island, near Port Aransas, Texas, in preparation for the upcoming hurricane season. U.S. Coast Guard photo

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Coast Guard helicopter crews conducted cliff and vertical surface rescue scenarios Wednesday and Thursday at Harbor Island, near Port Aransas, in preparation for the upcoming hurricane season.

The training included scenarios where the helicopter crews rescued a mannequin from a cliff face.

The rescue operation requires precision teamwork from the aircrew and ground rescuers. The helicopter hoists a rescue swimmer down to the cliff face. The rescue swimmer uses hand signals to direct the helicopter’s movement while the swimmer repels down the cliff face to the survivor while connected to the helicopter. The rescue swimmer then straps the survivor to himself and the helicopter hoist cable. The helicopter pulls the rescue swimmer and survivor from the cliff face and to safety.

“This training is vital to the Coast Guard’s preparations for the upcoming hurricane season.” Said Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Matson, helicopter instructor pilot at Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi. “When we responded to Hurricane Katrina, a large number of rescues were to vertical surfaces such as buildings and bridges. The skills we practice in this training are vital to us here in South Texas even though we don’t have many cliffs. Hopefully we won’t need to use these skills, but are ready in case we need to respond.”

Hurricane season runs from the beginning of June to the end of October. All over the country and especially the Gulf Coast, Coast Guard units are conducting training and making preparations. We recommend each family in South Texas prepare as well. Visit http://ift.tt/OMO92e for more information on how to be ready for the upcoming season.



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