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Impromptu rescue during a winter helicopter training exercise
Whilst out on essential training, the Inverness Coastguard helicopter crew were presented with an ideal opportunity to test their winter flying skills.
A little dog, who had been missing for 48 hours in the terrible weather conditions of Storm Gareth, was spotted on a narrow ledge with a 200ft vertical drop below by the Coastguard helicopter crew.
The Inverness helicopter crew – Captain Simon Hammock, Co-pilot Roger Sherriff, Winch Operator Rob Glendinning and Winchman Mark Stevens, were undertaking some essential winter training with another Winchman Kate Willoughby visiting from Humberside Coastguard helicopter base at Stag Rocks in the Cairngorms.
To put their winter skills to the test, the two Winchmen were dropped off at a nearby bothy to undertake essential medical training in the snow.
The remaining helicopter crew flew off to simulate a refuel and as they circled 1000ft up Loch Avon in the Cairngorms, a nearby section of cloud cleared and they happened to spot the dog perched precariously on the ledge.
The helicopter crew noted the position, went back to collect the two training winchmen and returned to the stranded dog. The weather had luckily presented them an ideal window of opportunity to use the rest of their training time to rescue the dog!
Little 'Ben' who is a Cavachon (mix of King Charles cavalier spaniel and bichon frise) was terrified and cold, so it was flown to the nearby Glenmore Lodge who then rushed it to the Strathspey Vets. We have since heard that the dog is doing well and has been happily reunited with its owner.
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