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Riverboat rescue exercise on the River Ouse
A BURNING boat carrying 20 stranded passengers on the River Ouse was the scenario dozens of firefighters faced as a huge training exercise was staged in York.
Two helicopters were scrambled, a river rescue boat launched and five fire engines drafted in for the simulated search and rescue mission earlier today, which saw crews being told that a YorkBoat was ablaze on the Ouse, near Clifton Bridge, following an engine fire and passengers were trapped onboard.
Crews were challenged to get the passengers to safety while contending with further tests including a severe burns casualty and a wheelchair-pound passenger that needed winching to safety as well as three passengers that had jumped into the river and had gotten in difficulties.
Ian Hill, Group Manager for York, said the scenario had taken weeks to organise alongside agencies including Yorkshire Ambulance Service and the RAF, adding that it provided a vital training tool, especially for dealing with emergencies on York’s rivers.
The two-hour training exercise drew dozens of onlookers as the dramatic scenario was played out. Watch manager Dave Ashman, of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, planned the exercise.
“This exercise provides us with an excellent opportunity to practice our water rescue capabilities, and work in partnership with users of the local waterways such as the YorkBoat,” he said.
Jo Dykes, general manager from YorkBoat, added: " The value of this emergency exercise is paramount. “It allows us to work together with the emergency rescue services and practice our emergency procedures as part of our on-going training."