The Royal Cayman Islands Police helicopter took off for the Bahamas on Thursday to help in the relief effort following the devastation wrought by Hurricane Dorian.
The Bahamian authorities requested assistance on Wednesday and Governor Martyn Roper and Premier Alden McLaughlin approved the helicopter deployment the same day.
According to a government press release, the aircraft left with two pilots and four technical flight officers, who will be supporting the rescue operation performing evacuation flights and aerial surveillance.
The H145 Airbus helicopter was purchased as part of a joint deal with the UK to boost Cayman’s capability to carry out search and rescue, law enforcement and border protection operations but also to assist fellow territories and other parts of the region during times of crisis, according to the release.
The helicopter can be configured in various ways to take up to five passengers and three crew or two patients on stretchers or up to 500kg of cargo.
Governor Roper said in a statement, “To help and support neighbouring nations in their time of need was one of the key reasons the UK sought to support the Cayman Islands in acquiring a new helicopter.
“Sadly, we are having to deploy it much sooner than any of us would have hoped but it is built for this very purpose and the pilots and crew are well-versed with dealing with patients and flying over an island-based terrain.”
Premier McLaughlin added, “As Caribbean nations we must stand together to support each other in these times of need. The Cayman Islands will do our part to support The Bahamas starting with the deployment of the RCIPS helicopter and trained personnel at this time when they most need it.
“The Government will provide other assistance as requested by the Bahamian Government. We remember all too clearly the effects of this kind of devastating storm and the tangible difference an aircraft and crew can make.“
To make a contribution to the disaster relief fund, refer to the Cayman Islands Red Cross Facebook page.