Anatomy of a rescue — from a helicopter

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In an effort to raise money for the volunteer Westpac Rescue Helicopter service, New Zealand helicopter crewman Mark Cannell has written about helicopter rescues of mariners from his perspective in the air.

“It is sometimes hard to gauge the size of the swell over rough sea until you have something to compare it with. But it was obvious we were dealing with particularly nasty conditions,” Cannell writes of a rescue mission involving a 33-foot sailing yacht, describing with winds gusting to 60 mph and swell near 30 feet.

“The yacht was being tossed about violently. Attempting a rescue from the vessel was going to be extremely dangerous if the 4.75-mm rescue hoist cable came into contact.”

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