|The brand new Sokol SAR helicopter on a rescue mission in Valle Gran Rey; La Gomera yesterday|
|Rescuers assisting the injured hiker yesterday|
I witnessed the first action in La Gomera of the brand new search and rescue helicopter stationed on neighbouring El Hierro island yesterday afternoon. A 72 year old German lady had suffered a fall near the top of La Merica mountain on the popular but very steep mountain track between Valle Gran Rey and Arure leaving her unable to continue her hike. The emergency services were called on 112 and the helicopter was dispatched to set down rescue personnel who then gave first aid and got the casualty ready on a stretcher for the helicopter transfer to hospital. The victim's arm and ankle injuries were said to be 'minor', but police and the local voluntary fire brigade were also mobilised.
The new Sokol helicopter is one of three acquired by the Canarian government which were delivered from the manufacturers in Poland to the islands of El Hierro, La Palma and Fuerteventura just a few days ago. These twin-engined choppers fly at a speed of 140 knots and can accommodate up to 14 persons. They will also be used in fire fighting, lifting about 1600 litres of water in a special attachment. The new state-of-the-art SAR helicopters also offer greater range and safety than the models previously used here.
|The new helicopter picking up rescue crew and the casualty yesterday afternoon|