The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service is in the process of acquiring a new helicopter to replace the one damaged at Owen Roberts International Airport in February. Cabinet approved the purchase this week.
The damaged helicopter, which was built in 1999, had a projected life span of about five years when it arrived in Cayman in early 2010. It had a reported technical failure shortly after takeoff in February and the tail struck the ground. Nobody was hurt in the incident.
The helicopter was sent to the United States for a damage assessment in May.
“The Cabinet has approved the purchase of the second helicopter, which will be replacing the one that was lost in February of this year in the accident that took place at the ORIA,” said RCIPS media officer Jodi-Ann Powery in a statement.
“We are currently in negotiations with our preferred bidder and hopeful that by end of the year we will have [the] process of purchasing this new helicopter under way.”
Cayman purchased another helicopter for a little over US$11 million earlier this year, and the UK contributed about 25% of the purchase price. That helicopter, a black Airbus H145, arrived in Cayman on 21 March. One of its first assignments was to ferry Prince Charles from Little Cayman back to Grand Cayman on 28 March.
The RCIPS reported in July that the helicopter had been used for six medical evacuations in the last two weeks of June.