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Final farewell for helicopter heroes

Published: 13 Jan 2016 17:25
Part of:
Law and order

Search and rescue team in final fly-past.

The military's last Scottish based search and rescue helicopter crew will say goodbye after 40 years of service with a final fly-past on Thursday.

Royal Navy Search and Rescue Flight, HMS Gannet, has been commissioned at Prestwick Airport since 1971 and is one of the busiest SAR (Search and Rescue) teams in the UK.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has now taken over responsibility for SAR operations in Scotland, coming in to effect on January 1.

HMS Gannet crew members are planning a final fly-past over some of the scenes of their most memorable operations on Thursday.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said:

"HMS Gannet has provided a dedicated and committed search and rescue service not only for Scotland but for the whole of the UK.

"Despite being one of the busiest search and rescue flights in the UK, the crew has provided a world class rescue service for the local population and international visitors.

"Each year there are around 7.2 million mountaineering or hill walking trips in Scotland's mountains and, as with most outdoor activities, there is a certain amount of risk involved. The past and present crew of HMS Gannet have made an extremely valuable contribution in assisting Scottish Mountain Rescue teams, which I know has been greatly appreciated from my own time spent in mountain rescue.

"I hope that tomorrow the public will join me in thanking them for all their hard work by turning out to wave goodbye to the team on their last ever fly-past."

Scottish Veterans Secretary, Keith Brown said:

"For over four decades the brave crews of the Royal Navy's HMS Gannet have risked their own lives to provide a truly world class rescue service across Scotland's mountains.

"The crews have enjoyed immense support from communities across Scotland and this fly-by is our final opportunity to say thank you and farewell."

Notes to editors

Weather permitting, Royal Navy Sea King helicopters from HMS Gannet will fly-over Prestwick at 10am, Glasgow at 10.30am, Garelochhead at 10.45am, Tyndrum / Crainlarich at 11am, Lochaber at 11.40am, Oban at 12.40pm, Inverlochlarig at 1.05pm, Stirling at 1.25pm, Edinburgh at 1.40pm, Ayr at 2.25pm, back to Prestwick at 2.27pm and finally, Troon at 2.30pm.

More information about HMS Gannet can be found at: http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/gannet