The air sea rescue boats of the Royal Air Force, which saved more than 6,000 airman during the last war, have been cut as an economy measure.
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Background: The air sea rescue boats of the Royal Air Force, which saved more than 6,000 airman during the last war, have been cut as an economy measure. The Air Council, which has made the decision, believes that the helicopter has outdated the boats and is now available in sufficient numbers to take over their duties. These scenes were taken at and around the RAF station at Thorney Island, Hampshire, set in the waters of the Chichester Harbour. At this station is the Marine Craft Section, which operates one of the last of the rescue launches, known as a Range Safety Launch. Nearby, on an adjoining airfield are the helicopters of the No. 22 Search and Rescue Squadron, equipped with Westland "Whirlwind" machines. A helicopter of this squadron is on immediate call from dawn to dusk throughout the year. A Rescue crew comprises a pilot, a navigator and a winchman. The crew can be in the air within three minutes of an emergency call being received. During the summer months they are continuously in action rescuing swimmers in difficulties or children cut off by the tide. Further duties call for the combined operation with boats in exercises of the RAF Search-Survival and Rescue School, also stationed at Thorney Island. Here members of the various RAF aircrew sections come for an intensive three-weeks course of survival...whether they be stranded at sea, on mountain peaks or in the Arctic. Providing warmth and medical attention is all part of the training of these rescue experts of the Royal Air Force.