HC Deb 14 March 1956 vol 550 c382
50. Mr. Awbery

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation how many attempts have been made by helicopter to assist shipwrecked seamen; how many flights have been made; how many people have been saved by this means; and what steps he is taking to expand this service.

Mr. Profumo

Since the beginning of 1954 helicopters based in the United Kingdom have assisted in the rescue of shipwrecked seamen on seven occasions, but the number of sorties flown is not readily ascertainable. Seventy-four seamen were rescued. Royal Navy and Royal Air Force helicopters are already well distributed round the coast, and more will be brought into service shortly.

Mr. Awbery

In view of the excellent services rendered to shipwrecked seamen by the helicopter service—for which we are all very grateful—will the Minister consider establishing helicopter life-saving stations all round the coasts?

Mr. Profumo

I think that we can say that progress is being made along these lines, but we should remember that helicopters are at present subject to certain limitations; that is to say, they cannot fly during the hours of darkness or in bad visibility or when the wind force is too strong.

Mrs. Mann

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in Scotland we are full of admiration for the wonderful work and for the achievement of the hitherto impossible now rendered possible by the helicopter, particularly in the Pentland Firth?

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