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Hebrides News


A new rescue vehicle which will help save lives has been supplied to coastguards in the Western Isles.


The Yamaha Viking all terrain vehicle (ATV) and associated equipment costs around £30,000 and will be deployed on searches for missing people.


The machine is to be permanently based in Stornoway and will be used coastguard teams to enable them to speedily transport equipment to incidents across rough moorland and rocky terrain.


The vehicle will also support police, fire and ambulance services.


A series of difficult missions rammed home the pressing need for a “go-anywhere” vehicle in the Western Isles.












Murdo Macaulay, the local area commander for the coastguard rescue service, say these incidents made it clear how invaluable the ATV would be in emergencies.


Mr Macaulay highlighted it will be a “massive” help in rescue missions by “giving us an extra tool to cut down time to get to a casualty.”


This will save vital time and “ultimately will save lives - there’s no doubt about it.”


He added: “Our equipment is heavy and bulky as it is designed for technical rescues.


“The fact we can do it with a vehicle that is purpose built to carry men and equipment means that it going to be safer and quicker to reach any particular site compared to walking it.”


When the Transocean Winner oil rig ran aground on the west coast of Lewis in August 2016, coastguards were forced to slog long distances through difficult ground to reach the location.


Equipment had to be carried by hand for miles to the headland at the crash site to set up a pulley system to transfer food, water and supplies to the salvage team onboard the rig.


If available last summer, the ATV would have covered much more ground in less time during extensive searches for missing German tourist, Torsten Kulke. The body of the 48-year-old was later found washed ashore on a local beach.


Squads of searchers went out on foot to scour hillsides, moors and remote clifftops around the Uig district of Lewis.


Coastguards stress the vehicle would have been a hugely valuable aid in the search, by quickly travelling over wider stretches of rugged moors. It could also have transported search crews to different search spots.


Speedily getting ropes and equipment to rescue people who have fallen down cliffs is also a huge advantage of having the ATV.


The fire service can also use the machine to transport fire crews long distances into the middle of the moor to tackle spreading wildfires.



Volunteer coastguard rescue teams undergo training on the ATV.

Coastguard rescue service commander Murdo Macaulay says the machine is a vital tool in emergency missions

New rescue vehicle will help coastguards in saving lives

4 April 2018