WATCH: Newbiggin lifeboat crew exercise with new search and rescue service

The new Sikorsky S-92 on exercise in Newbiggin Bay with the lifeboat. Pictures by Kiera Downing/John Tuttiett Photography

The new Sikorsky S-92 on exercise in Newbiggin Bay with the lifeboat. Pictures by Kiera Downing/John Tuttiett Photography

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Lifeboat volunteers from Newbiggin took part in a unique exercise on Sunday when they became the first north east crew to work with the new search and rescue helicopter.

The new helicopter is taking over from the Sea Kings stationed at RAF Boulmer.

The Sikorsky S-92, which is based on Humberside, arrived in Newbiggin Bay on Sunday afternoon after a 40-minute flight from its new base.

“We were delighted to be asked to take part in the exercise,” said Pauline Cooksey, Newbiggin’s Lifeboat operations manager.

“It was a unique opportunity for our crew to familiarise themselves with the new helicopter and its crew and everyone concerned was very pleased how the exercise went.”

The helicopter carried out various tasks with the lifeboat and its crew in the bay including winching on and off the lifeboat, which gave both crews the chance to get to know each others capabilities.

The new Coastguard Rescue helicopters will be phased in across the country over a period of time, taking over from the RAF and Royal Navy, which currently carry out search and rescue services for the majority of the UK.

Bristows, which operates the service for the Coastguard, has been carrying out search and rescue services in the south of England and north of Scotland for several years, and many of its crews are former RAF and navy search and rescue personnel.

The new Sikorsky S-92 on exercise in Newbiggin Bay with the lifeboat. Pictures by Kiera Downing/John Tuttiett Photography

The new Sikorsky S-92 on exercise in Newbiggin Bay with the lifeboat. Pictures by Kiera Downing/John Tuttiett Photography