Life-saving air operations 50 today

TF-LIF over Greenland.

TF-LIF over Greenland. Photo: Árni Sæberg

Fifty years ago today, the Icelandic Coast Guard brought its first search-and-rescue helicopter into service. Since then ICG helicopters have saved some 3,000 lives.

In 1965, the Icelandic Coast Guard (known in Icelandic as ‘Land­helg­is­gæsl­an’) bought its first Bell 47J helicopter (TF-EIR). Today, the aeronautical division of ICG has a fleet of four: one DHC-8 prop-jet aircraft and three Super Puma helicopters.

The early years were tough, with accidents frequent, including a helicopter crash in 1983 which killed all four crew members. But ICG was undeterred and search-and-rescue helicopter mission continue to this day.

ICG will be holding celebrations to mark the event today. Since helicopter operations began fifty years ago, an estimated 3,000 lives have been saved – 2,000 of them since 1994.

TF-EIR, the first ICG helicopter from 1965, by an Icelandic …

TF-EIR, the first ICG helicopter from 1965, by an Icelandic lighthouse. Photo: Páll Halldorsson collection

TF-EIR at the Landmannaafréttur sheep round-up.

TF-EIR at the Landmannaafréttur sheep round-up. Photo: Páll Halldorsson collection

TF-EIR crew.

TF-EIR crew. Photo: Páll Halldorsson collection

TF-LIF bringing an injured man to hospital in Reykjavik.

TF-LIF bringing an injured man to hospital in Reykjavik. Photo: Árni Sæberg

ICG air crew, 2015.

ICG air crew, 2015. Photo: Árni Sæberg

Flying over Greenland.

Flying over Greenland. Photo: Árni Sæberg

ICG helicopter.

ICG helicopter. Photo: Árni Sæberg

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