15th November 2019
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Shetland coastguard teams given prestigious award for challenging rescue

Isles emergency services teams were given a prestigious award at Shetland Museum on Tuesday evening.

It is the sixth time that teams in Shetland have won the DfT Rescue Shield, which is the highest national accolade awarded annually to coastguard rescue teams that have “performed the most meritorious rescue”.

The Shetland teams received the award for their part in rescuing a young man stuck at the base of a 130ft cliff at Fethaland in May 2018.

The Fethaland rescue was singled out due to it being a “model example of teamwork”.

On the night, the man was stuck for two hours in darkness and the tide was coming in so time, safety and precision were critical.

Teams from Lerwick, Hillswick, Sumburgh coastguard rescue teams, Shetland coastguard operations centre and the Sumburgh-based coastguard search and rescue helicopter all received certificates.

Dave Sweeney was HM Coastguard’s incident commander on duty that evening and responsible for co-ordinating rescue efforts using multiple emergency response teams, including coastguard rescue teams specifically trained in rope rescues, the search and rescue helicopter from Sumburgh and the RNLI lifeboat.

He said: “As emergency response teams we rely heavily on each other to achieve success and this case was a prime example of that.

“It was a challenging rescue and we needed all our teams’ shared expertise and resources to safely rescue the man.”

The isles teams shared the award with Stornoway rescue teams, who rescued an 87-year-old man from cliffs in St Kilda.

More will be included in the 8th November edition of The Shetland Times.

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