Civil Air Support (CAS) recently received a request from a family member to assist in a missing person search, following a period during which the vulnerable person had not been found by any of the agencies actively looking for him.
The CAS Ops Group authorised a search mission flown by a highly experienced crew using an autogyro, given the prevailing wind conditions (autogyros tend to cope well in windy weather). This search employed, for the very first time, a new technique developed as an offshoot of the organisation’s experience in coastal rubbish survey. The flight duration was 1 hour and 5 minutes, costing the charity a little over £25.
Post-flight analysis of the considerable amount of data obtained revealed clear indications that immediate police intervention was necessary (although nothing had been seen directly during the search). Police were informed and, sadly, a body was recovered which was later identified as the missing person.
Peter Macintosh, a Deputy Unit Chief Pilot with CAS who co-ordinated the search from Inverness said:
“First and foremost our thoughts are with the relatives and friends of this gentleman – along with everyone else affected by the very sad situation that has unfolded since he went missing. We recognise that nothing that CAS did resulted in any different outcome for them but hope that we did bring closure much more quickly and with less distress than may otherwise have been the case through our skillful guidance of professional resources”.
CAS’s Chief Pilot, Archie Liggat, who is also the charity’s National Chairman added:
“This sad situation has once again underlined the effectiveness of CAS aircraft and crews in extended missing person searches when statutory air search resources are either unavailable or have been stood down. We understand that it is important for loved ones to know that an airborne search is on-going and therefore continue to offer our services free of charge whenever they are required”.
CAS is a charity, and whilst we can’t always help – for many different reasons – anyone can contact us if they believe our assistance might be beneficial. We continue to hope that even first responders such as Police Scotland will re-engage with us for the wider benefits of our communities soon, as we continue to demonstrate what our well-organised, trained and disciplined crews can do.
My thoughts are also with this gentleman’s family at this sad time”.