Instead of sending Christmas cards this year Oceanskies has chosen to donate to the Channel Islands Airsearch (CIAS) Lions’ Pride appeal.
CIAS is a voluntary charitable organisation formed in 1980 for the primary purpose of assisting in the saving of lives at sea. It is a rapid response service, with comprehensive search and limited rescue capability.
The service is a registered charity and funded entirely by charitable donations, its dedicated volunteers ensure the service is operational 24/7.
The CIAS aircraft is a Britten Norman Islander aircraft which is heavily customised and locally as ‘Lions’ Pride’. It provides a rapid response search capability in the 4,000 square miles of water surrounding the British Channel Islands and the adjacent French coast. CIAS is typically involved in 30 to 40 call outs each year.
Each year the costs to keep the Lions’ Pride airborne is around £100,000. In addition to the annual running costs, funds have to be raised for capital items such as engine replacement programmes and other essential equipment. However, on the evening of the 3rd November, 2013 the aircraft launched from Guernsey into dark and stormy conditions including gale force 9 winds, heavy rain showers and horrendous sea conditions to search for two fishermen missing off the Les Ecrehou islands off Jersey.
Shortly into the flight the aircraft’s engines cut out resulting in the pilot having to make a forced landing on the cliff tops of Jersey. Given the weather conditions at the time it was a remarkable feat of airmanship that the pilot managed to find one of the very few areas suitable for a forced landing amongst the rocky cliffs of Jersey Fortunately all five crew managed to walk away from the downed aircraft unharmed. As a result of the forced landing the aircraft has been damaged and will require significant rebuilding work if not declared a write-off.
In an effort to return the current aircraft to the skies or, if necessary, acquire and equip a new aircraft CIAS has launched an appeal to seek additional funding through the ‘Lions’ Pride Appeal’ through their charitable donation page below:
The St Peter Port lifeboat, of which Adrian Ogier of Oceanskies is the deputy coxswain, has long relied on the invaluable service provided by the CIAS and instead of sending Christmas cards this year to our clients and friends and colleagues within the marine and aviation industries we here at Oceanskies have decided to show our support for this worthy cause make a donation to the Lions’ Pride Appeal.