THE Chepstow Coastguard joined forces with the St Athan based coastguard rescue helicopter on the weekend (26th March) for a number of training exercises.

The exercises were carried out on the football pitch of the 1st Battalion Rifles in Beachley, they included practicing winch and high-line techniques from the hovering helicopter.

Richard Hoyle, deputy station officer of Chepstow Coastguard said: “We undertake training with the coastguard rescue helicopter based in St Athan to make sure our skills are up to date.

“We train with and without the helicopter, without it we practice the setup of designated and emergency landing sites and sometimes when we have new team members we do training with the helicopter.”

The training took place on the morning of Sunday 26th March for around two hours with nine rescue officers and four helicopter crew taking part.

Mr Hoyle said: “The coastguard rescue helicopter in St Athen is a vital asset, it can be flown to the River Severn within 10 minutes and can be used for searches, cliff rescues and to evacuate casualties.

“The training helps to familiarise officers with the winch and the high line and how to manage the evacuation of casualties by helicopter.

“The high line helps to stabilise when lifting casualties on a stretcher. Because the down draft from the helicopter can cause it to spin, we use the high line to stop it.”