SEARCH & RESCUE
In recent years, these volunteer teams have had to develop and practice particular skills, not needed in the past, in order to assist with helicopter rescue and recovery. This has been in close collaboration with the S.A. Air Force and their equally highly trained pilots and winch operators.
National Mountain Rescue practice exercises are regularly held with the Air Force in order to practice and update the high technical skills needed.
The next National Mountain Rescue Exercise will be hosted by the E.P. Section over the weekend of 24 - 25 September.
The key role our Mountain Rescue Teams play in assisting with helicopter based S&R operations, particularly in mountainous terrain, has official recognition in the Department of Transport. It grants the MCSA an annual subsidy ot R 50 000 to help towards the cost of equipping and operating our volunteer teams.
This agreement with the Department of Transport has just been renewed for a further period of 5 years and our side of the agreement requires us to maintain operational teams in those parts of the country where their services are most likely to be needed.
The MCSA Mountain Rescue Teams are very clearly up to this task, as was demonstrated recently in a tragic air disaster involving two Albatross aircraft on 14 August when the Gauteng team was mobilised and extra manpower provided by the Cape Town team.
Two letters have subsequently been issued by the authorities in which the role of our Mountain Rescue Teams was highlighted and praised.
These letters of commendation have been circulated among our teams but will not have reached all Sections. They are attached to this notice (see below.)
Letter 1. A press release letter of condolences issued on 16 August by President Zuma, in which specific mention is made of the role played by the MCSA Mountain Rescue Teams involved.
Letter 2. A letter of appreciation written on 18 August, sent directly to the MCSA National Rescue Co-ordinator Rob Thomas, by the Head of Aeronautical Search & Rescue. In this letter specific mention is made of the "professional and prompt response" of our team members.
I am sure all in the MCSA share my pride in our S&R Teams and join me in congratulating them on their consistent high standards and service to the community.
Dave Jones - President MCSA