Bristow Rescues Louisiana Residents from Unprecedented Flooding

Bristow supported helicopter rescue efforts for Louisiana residents affected by historic flooding in the parishes around Livingston and East Baton Rouge in August 2016. Working in close coordination with the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness for Livingston Parish, Bristow teams based at Galliano and New Iberia quickly mobilized the company’s response to provide critical care to those in need.

“We are honored and proud to have the opportunity to render this lifesaving assistance and emergency medical care to our fellow citizens in the state of Louisiana,” said Bristow’s Americas Region Search and Rescue (SAR) Manager David Jacob. “All of this would not have been possible without the professionalism, teamwork and unwavering dedication of our employees.”

Utilizing a Leonardo AW139, a Sikorsky S-76C++ and a Bell 407 aircraft, Bristow crews completed several missions over two days to provide critical assistance to displaced residents and their pets, retrieving people from homes, small boats, levees and high ground surrounded by flood waters. Bristow crews also lowered water and supplies to individuals stranded by the flood waters, and conducted aerial reconnaissance of the area for local authorities and media.

The emergency calls and SAR taskings were communicated to Bristow’s SAR dispatch, which were triaged for severity and relayed to rescue crews. Throughout the rescue missions, the crews performed dynamic risk assessments as the situations unfolded. Due to their extensive experience with SAR, the crews were well versed in performing these risk assessments.

Jacob cited the team’s significant military experience, comparing these efforts to the military rescues that took place during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and credited Bristow’s unmatched SAR capabilities in the Gulf of Mexico for helping to save lives.

“Our military backgrounds prepared us to do these operations safely and efficiently,” said Jacob. “I couldn’t be more proud of this team for completing our rescue taskings without hesitation, especially considering that many of our employees were also affected by flooding from this storm.”

Bristow’s AW139 helicopter used in these SAR missions was equipped with a 700Mhz radio that allowed for communication with multiagency responders, mission management capabilities, external rescue hoist system and critical care medical equipment. The highly-trained crew onboard the aircraft included two SAR pilots, hoist operator, rescue specialist and flight paramedic. The S76 C++ provided support to relocate survivors by air due to inaccessible roads and locations caused by the rising flood waters.

Bristow provides commercial SAR and rescue services for a number of oil and gas companies as a core part of its helicopter offerings in most of the countries in which it operates. Bristow also operates the civilian SAR helicopter service for the UK on behalf of HM Coastguard. Since 1971, Bristow has flown more than 56,000 SAR operational hours and conducted more than 18,750 SAR missions, during which more than 9,650 people have been rescued by its crews and helicopters worldwide.