First responders train for helicopter based rescues


GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Multiple agencies came together to practice exercises to better prepare first responders for helicopter based rescues.

The North Carolina Helo-Aquatic Rescue Team, Greenville Fire/Rescue, and the North Carolina Emergency Management team took part in the training at Pitt-Greenville Airport Wednesday.

Helicopters were brought in to simulate real life experiences like the rescues made during Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Floyd.

Many of the people training today worked during Hurricane Matthew and said that experience has helped them learn how to better for these training sessions.

Captain Mervin Taylor works with Greenville Fire/Rescue and is apart of the Helo-Aquatic team.

Taylor said, “We are trying to recreate that during the wide area search. Getting those coordinates and then executing on those coordinates where that survivor may be.” 

Tanner Tharrington also works with Greenville Fire/Rescue and the Helo-Aquatic team. 

Tharrington said there is a heavy amount of training to be on a team like this.

“It’s really productive because it’s not something you get to do everyday,” said Tharrington. “You have to have a lot of people together to bring helicopters out here and a whole bunch of people to come out here and put in on. It takes a lot of man power.”

Both Taylor and Tharrington worked on similar crews to save victims during Hurricane Matthew.

The teams practice simulations similar to Wednesday’s on a routine basis.

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