The Minister of Security and Emergencies, Julio Perez, announced on Thursday, at the La Guancha heliport in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, home of one of the six new emergency helicopters that the Canary Islands Government has incorporated into the Emergency and Rescue Group (GES). The helicopter is a Bell 412 EP which has a series of characteristics that make it perfect for the work carried out in the archipelago.
Among the main features of this helicopter, which will be stationed at bases located in Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro, Gran Canaria, and Fuerteventura, is its ability to provide a multifunctional service because it can carry out sea or land rescues, in firefighting, and other surveillance and prevention services.
It also has technology on board to locate people via their mobile phones, and is equipped with a new generation of floats and skids to give greater security during rescue operations at sea and when refilling the fire basket with seawater.
Another advantage is that, since the six helicopters are the same model, the quality of service is guaranteed, as the crew of any of the aircraft can be incorporated, something that did not happen before, for example, during the pandemic, because there were two different models of helicopter being used by the GES.
Perez confirmed that the acquisition is the result of a laborious process of studying which aircraft and options would best suit the requirements of emergency situations in the islands, which has resulted in the contract of these six helicopters, for five years for 50 million euros.
During 2019-2022 the GES carried out 1,916 main missions, 796 rescues on land, 856 at sea (many of them in difficult conditions of waves, haze and strong wind turbulence) and 264 firefighting services. Other actions were also carried out, such as the detection and monitoring of marine pollution or surveillance at large events.
By islands, Tenerife had the highest number of interventions with 375 rescues on land, 294 rescues at sea and 79 fires. It is followed by Gran Canaria, 175 on land, 209 at sea and 81 fires. La Palma registered 95 on land, 88 at sea and 68 fires. Lanzarote is the fourth with 46 on land, 104 at sea and one fire. Fuerteventura, with 26 on land, 95 at sea and zero fires, is the fifth. La Gomera ranks sixth with 66 rescues on land, 22 at sea and 11 fires. And El Hierro closes the list with 13 on land, 44 at sea and 24 fires.