Training for emergencies

The helicopter winchman is winched up from Tynemouth RNLI inshore lifeboat as both Blyth RNLI lifeboats stand off. Picture by Adrian Don/RNLI
The helicopter winchman is winched up from Tynemouth RNLI inshore lifeboat as both Blyth RNLI lifeboats stand off. Picture by Adrian Don/RNLI

St Mary’s Island was the scene of a training exercise involving four RNLI lifeboats and a Coastguard Rescue helicopter.

Fifteen volunteer crew members from Tynemouth and Blyth RNLI lifeboat stations and four crew on board the Humberside Airport-based Sikorsky took part.

The helicopter winchman is winched up from Blyth RNLI Atlantic 75 lifeboat. Picture by Adrian Don/RNLI

The helicopter winchman is winched up from Blyth RNLI Atlantic 75 lifeboat. Picture by Adrian Don/RNLI

The exercise was aimed at practising winching the helicopter winchman on and off the lifeboats.

Adrian Don, Tynemouth RNLI spokesman, said: “Our volunteer crew members often work with Coastguard Rescue helicopters when recovering casualties from the sea or vessels so it’s vital that we train to make sure we get the skills and techniques right every time as there’s no room for mistakes. Exercises like this are vital to ensure our volunteers are fully prepared for the real thing.”

Volunteer crew members on board Tynemouth RNLI all-weather lifeboat haul Coastguard helicopter winchman Chris 'Gibbo' Gibbins onto the lifeboat using the highline technique. Picture by  Adrian Don/RNLI

Volunteer crew members on board Tynemouth RNLI all-weather lifeboat haul Coastguard helicopter winchman Chris 'Gibbo' Gibbins onto the lifeboat using the highline technique. Picture by Adrian Don/RNLI