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THE SEARCH, RESCUE AND AMBULANCE SERVICE
 
 

The search and rescue service is an important public servicewhere aviation has played a significant role, and still does. The exhibition consists of a rescue panorama, a Bell 47D Sioux, a wall picture of a Sea King rescue helicopter and a section about the organisation of the search and rescue service and the Main Rescue Coordination Centres, complete with text and illustrations.

What is the Search and Rescue Service?
The task of the Search and Rescue Service is to save human life. It includes everything from efforts made during major catastrophes to the seeking out of a lost skier in the mountains. The Search and Rescue Service is a public service, placed directly under the jurisdiction of the Norwegian Ministry of Justice. There are two Main Rescue Coordination Centres in Norway, one in Stavanger and one in Bodø.
 
 
Previously, search and rescue operations had involved improvised cooperation between various public services, organisations and private companies. Only the air rescue service had a more permanent administration. In connection with an accident in the Skagerak in 1969, Danish rescue helicopters made an extremely good impression during the rescue operation. As a result of this, the Norwegian authorities stepped up improvements to the domestic search and rescue service. A direct consequence of this was the establishment of the Main Search and Rescue Coordination Centres in 1970.

History
  • 1922 The first case of a flying doctor service in Norway occurred in 1922. The naval air force transported a doctor from Hammerfest to Alta in a Hansa Brandenburg W33 machine.

  • 1928 The air ship "Italia" crashed north of Spitzbergen in 1928. A major search operation was organised and Roald Amundsen was determined to take part - in an operation that was to cost him his life. His plane, a Latham flying boat, must have crashed into the sea near Bjørnøya Island. Nobile's expedition was rescued after what was one of the greatest international rescue operations ever to take place in the Arctic.

  • 1934 Throughout the 1930's and into the first year of the war, the Widerøe's Flyveselskap A/S airline ran ambulance flights at their own cost and risk, including a 24 hour telephone service and crews on call. Mr. Viggo Widerøe received financial support from the Norwegian Red Cross to develop an ambulance plane adapted to Norwegian conditions, the Hønningstad C5 Polar.

  • 1953 The armed forces acquired their first helicopters in 1953. They were Bell 47D Sioux helicopters and were obtained by the Air Rescue Service and stationed at different locations around the country.

  • 1956 Norsk Helikopter Service A/S was established in 1956 and also took part in the air ambulance service.

  • 1970 The Main Rescue Coordination Centres were established in 1970, and equipped with 10 Westland Sea King Mk. 43. The Sea King is a British made licensed version of the Sikorsky S.61.

  • 1989 The Soviet Russian cruise ship "Maxim Gorky" was in a distress situation in the ice fields to the west of Spitzbergen, there were 950 people on board. The Main Rescue Coordination Centre in Bodø coordinated the rescue operation which was carried out with the assistance of Coast Guard vessels, 3 Sea King rescue helicopters and Helikopter Service A/S. No lives were lost.

  • 1995 Boxing Day, a Russian fishing vessel was in a distress situation in the Barents Sea, off the county of Troms. 15 lives were saved, 10 perished.

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