On February 16, 2022, the Portuguese Air force rescued 22 crew of the merchant ship “FELICITY ACE” after a fire in the vessel’s cargo hold.
The ship was sailing about 300 km (161.987 nautical miles) from Lajes, Terceira Island, the Azores when the Air Force EH-101 Merlin was activated to rescue passengers.
The Lajes Air Search and Rescue Coordination Center conducted the air operations after the Ponta Delgada Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Center requested the Air Force to commit air resources.
The crew were rescued from the “RESILIENT WARRIOR” oil tanker by the EH-101 Merlin helicopter in groups of 11 and transported twice to Faial Island.
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This highly skilled and physically demanding operation involved a Rescuer-Rescuer, a Systems Operator, an Aeronautical Nurse and two Air Force Pilot-Aviators. The 22 crew members were successfully rescued without needing medical assistance.