§ 59. Mr. Speller
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the estimated cost of the search and rescue helicopter service in the south-west of England and south Wales; how many helicopters are involved; what is the approximate division of work time between supporting Her Majesty's forces and assistance to civilians; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Freeman
I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Moray (Mrs. Ewing) on 18 February 1988, at column 741, giving the full costs of the military search and rescue service in financial year 1987–88 as approximately £57.7 million. It is not possible to make a reasonably accurate attribution of these costs to individual stations or areas.
There are eight search and rescue helicopters stationed in south-west England and south Wales, two at each of the Naval air stations at Portland and Culdrose and two each at RAFs Chivenor and Brawdy. The division of work time between military and civilian call outs varies from year to year, but nationally over the last fve years some 90 per cent. of those rescued by military helicopters have been civilians.220W
§ 77. Mrs. Margaret Ewing
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what were the total numbers of air-sea rescue operations carried out by Royal Air Force air-sea rescue services during the last year; and what was the ratio of military to civilian rescues in the incidents involved.
§ Mr. Freeman
In the year ended 31 March 1988 elements of the Royal Air Force search and rescue service (comprising helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft and mountain rescue teams) responded to 1,384 call-outs, concerning 1,086 incidents in the United Kingdom and surrounding waters. 98 military personnel and 786 civilians were rescued, giving a ratio of 1:8.