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searchlights will help Burnham hovercraft find casualties at night
hovercraft will soon go on service 24 hours a day after modifications
were made to the craft to help it perform rescues at night.
searchlights have been fitted to the rear of the Spirit Of Lelaina
to allow crewmembers to illuminate the mud around them during
super-strength lights will help crewmembers quickly locate casualties
in the mud and also navigate around obstacles, such as wooden
stakes and deep gullies, which can hamper the hovercraft's flight.
To test the effectiveness of the new lights, a night-time exercise
was held on Burnham-On-Sea beach in the early hours of Saturday
During two flights along the coastline, crewmembers performed
a series of manoeuvres to rehearse how the lights would be used
during a real incident. With driving rain and gusty wind, the
conditions fully tested the crew and the hovercraft.
BARB, the group that runs the hovercraft, now intends to introduce
its round-the-clock operations in time for the start of the main
summer holiday season.
Newman, Press and Publicity Manager for BARB, said: "The
successful installation of the craft's lights means the start
of our 24-hour operations has come a step closer."
"The lights performed very well and operated just as we'd
hoped. They will be invaluable during night-time incidents - helping
us to quickly find casualties, light up incident scenes and get
out to the mud as quickly as possible."
Burnham's hovercraft is currently on-call during daylight hours
only, although it did perform an urgent night-time rescue on April
25th at Weston-super-Mare, helping a man trapped in mud 500 metres
off the end of the town's pier.
Burnham-On-Sea Hovercraft Web site