Marine Rescue flares guide ambulance rescue helicopter

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Marine Rescue Ulladulla Unit Commander Doug Musker used both a marine smoke flare and illuminating flare to guide an ambulance rescue helicopter to land at the Ulladulla harbour car park to collect an injured fisherman this afternoon, Wednesday 30th May 2012.

The fisherman had broken two legs in an accident at the nearby wharf and gloomy late afternoon light affected visibility at the only available landing site. Local police cleared the car park and established a safety perimeter.

Commander Musker first set off an orange smoke flare to identify the location and show wind direction for the helicopter pilot, then the illuminating flare provided greater visibility.

'It was a bit of a sand storm there for a few minutes,' Commander Musker said, 'but the helicopter landed safely and the casualty was quickly transferred to the aircraft and then taken to hospital for treatment.'

'Orange and red distress signal flares are essential safety equipment on recreational and commercial vessels. This incident show how valuable they were in a land-based emergency as well.'

Marine Rescue NSW website