Sea Rescue Kit - 1960s

As part of its responsibility for aviation Search And Rescue (SAR), the Department's Air Traffic Control branch maintained the capability of air dropping SAR stores to survivors in the water. These could be swimming personnel, but recipients could also be people in rafts, or boats in distress.

The standard SAR equipment was a 4-unit Sea Rescue Kit (SRK), comprising an inflatable life raft, two stores units containing food, water, medical equipment and other useful items, and another raft, all joined by lines. The normal method of delivery was for the drop aircraft to fly past the survivors slightly upwind at 200 feet. The SRK would be dispatched so that it landed upwind of and abeam the survivors (see diagram below).

On entry into the water, the life rafts would automatically inflate. The wind would then cause the rafts to drift down on and encircle the survivors, who could use the lines to draw the rafts and stores containers in (diagram below).

The photo at the top of the page is a still from a 1960s slient movie showing SAR dropping exercises from a Departmental Fokker F.27 in the 1960s. An SRK can be seen in the foreground - the red bags are the liferafts and the yellow bags are the stores contrainers. Behind the SRK are some Heliboxes and the technician is holding an air-deployable SAR beacon.

Click on the image at the top of the page to view a clip from the movie showing the SRK (.mov file - opens in new window or tab).


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