Helicopter crew rescues casualties in Hurricane Dorian search and rescue mission

A Royal Navy helicopter crew flying from RFA Mounts Bay has rescued three children and a British citizen trapped beneath rubble for several days after Hurricane Dorian struck the Bahamas.

The Wildcat helicopter, operating from Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Mounts Bay, was flying over Great Abaco Island to assess damage when its crew were suddenly requested to evacuate a casualty from Elbow Cay.

The individual was removed from the rubble and brought back to RFA Mounts Bay to be treated by the team of Royal Navy medics on board. They were then provided with emergency medication before being airlifted to the capital, Nassau.

The Wildcat also conducted a casualty evacuation of a woman, her two children and a baby to Nassau. The helicopter crew comprised Flight Commander Lieutenant Lee Holborn, Flight Observer Lieutenant Keith Webb and medical officer Surgeon Lieutenant Rebecca Miles.

Surgeon Lt Miles said: “The children were in a poorly condition and required immediate medical care. It was hugely rewarding to use my training and skills to provide essential and immediate life-saving care to this family.”

We are ready to provide assistance where necessary and it is always rewarding to know that you have made a significant difference, not only to the wider island, but to the individual families of those affected.

Flight Commander Lieutenant Lee Holborn

On a later flight, RFA medical technician Graham Trevaskis, was tasked with helping an elderly lady with diabetes. She was also airlifted to Nassau.

Lt Holborn added: “We are ready to provide assistance where necessary and it is always rewarding to know that you have made a significant difference, not only to the wider island, but to the individual families of those affected.”

The RFA Mounts Bay crew have so far delivered shelter kits, ration packs and water. The Wildcat will also be airlifting relief to outlying, cut off communities is liaison with the Royal Bahamian Defence Force.

She will bring ashore her heavy plant equipment such as all-terrain quads, dump trucks, and diggers. RFA Mounts Bay’s specialist crew and kit make her best placed to open the port and clear the airport runway so more international aid, including relief arriving from the United States, can reach the island.

The ship has been in the Caribbean since June in preparation for the hurricane season and was re-tasked last week to sail to the Bahamas in anticipation of Hurricane Dorian, the strongest ever recorded in the region.

RFA Mounts Bay has embarked a dedicated humanitarian and disaster relief team, and is carrying vital aid and specialist equipment.

It also stores aid from the Department for International Development (DFID) including water carriers, hygiene kits with basic items such as soap, and shelter kits. Since Hurricane Dorian hit, a liaison officer from the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and a DFID humanitarian expert have been on board to help co-ordinate the relief efforts.