French Air Force co-ordinates search for pilot

French Air Force co-ordinates search for pilot

The ARCC scrambled four helicopters, one each from the Air Force, the Army, the Gendarmerie and the Civil Security service.

The French Ministry of Defence has reported on a rescue mission that was co-ordinated by the French Air Force.

At 11:15 hrs on 1 June, the Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Center (ARCC) at Air Base 942 in Lyon-Mont Verdun received an alert from the Var fire and rescue service. An aircraft pilot had made an emergency landing near Pennafort. The pilot was conscious, but injured and unable to communicate with the emergency services.

Faced with the scant information gathered, the ARCC scrambled four helicopters, one each from the Air Force, the Army, the Gendarmerie and the Civil Security service. The Var authorities also dispatched some 50 rescuers on the ground. The aerial search continued late into the night, with the helicopter crews using thermal cameras and night vision goggles.

The survivor was located around 10:00 hrs on 2 June. Badly injured and suffering from hypothermia, he was evacuated to the Sainte Anne hospital in Toulon. In total, the mission involved over 45 hours of day and night-time flight by seven different helicopters and over one hundred rescuers.

The ARCC is involved in over 2,700 events per year. In 2016 it helped save 32 lives.