Welcome to Search and Rescue International 2017

Over 200 delegates from 27 countries attended Tangent Link’s two-day Search and Rescue International 2017 conference and exhibition which kicked off on 19th October. 

The keynote speech was delivered by Lieutenant Colonel Walter Riccardi, Head of SAR Centre, Lyon. He spoke on the role the Rescue Co-ordination Centre at Lyon-Mont Verdun plays, backed up by a second similar facility at Tours. They are supported by four helicopter facilities at Cazaux, Villacoublay, Orange and Solenzara, while French Navy Falcon 50s cover the maritime aspects of SAR.

During his speech,  Lt Col Walter Riccardi presented a case study from 2016, there were 16 deaths, 12 injuries while 20 people were saved – the bulk of the accidents were carried out in the Pyrenees and the Alps. It covered 15 aircraft, eleven light aircraft, five gliders, two helicopters and 15 other incidents.


With 25 Pumas, 40 Fennecs and 8 Caracals the French Air Force SAR centre was responsible for co-ordinating the recovery effort during the tragic 14 day German Wings A320 crash in March 2015, which claimed 150 lives in the French Alps.


In addition to the insightful conference, the static exhibition at Search & Rescue 2017 included two helicopters, a Heli-Union EC 225 and a HM Maritime and Coastguard Agency Sikorsky S92 operated by Bristow Helicopters.  A fixed wing VulcanAir P-68 was also on show.  The Naples based company has recently sold nine P-68 Observer 2 observation aircraft to the Chilean Navy, which is using them for SAR.  The last of the 12 or so pilots were trained at Salerno this summer.  



Alan Warnes
Independent Journalist