Air rescue from the sandbank
Walking through the mudflats at good luck and finding a comfortable spot on a sandbank can be dangerous. A family had to realize this, too, when suddenly the offshore rescue helicopter of NHC Northern Helicopter from St. Peter-Ording hovered over them. Until then, they did not realise the danger they were in.
On the way back from an operation on the island of Amrum, the crew of the Northern Rescue (NR01) noticed a group of people on the North Sea side of the Westerheversand: "It was obvious to us that the tide had already cut them off on their way back to the mainland and they were now on an island," the pilot reported.
The crew briefly discussed the situation, informed the emergency control centre in Bremen and flew over the area once again to make sure. No doubt about it: There was no way back to the mainland for the group. So the crew winched their emergency paramedic onto the sandbank to inform the trapped people about their situation. The family with two younger children had just noticed that they were trapped by the water. "I could only confirm this impression, they had not yet called for help," the paramedic said.
After consulting the emergency services in Bremen, the offshore rescue helicopter landed at a safe distance next to the stunned family. There was no alternative. The German Life Rescue Society was on another mission at the time and the German Society for the Rescue of Castaways would not have been able to reach the family with its rescue cruisers. The plan now was to transfer the family with one flight to the mainland. With the engines running, among other things the emergency backpacks were unloaded. The emergency doctor and paramedic were left on the sandbank. Without luggage and the medical crew, the rescue helicopter had enough capacity to take the five people and transport them to the nearest possible landing area on the mainland. Afterwards, the offshore rescue helicopter picked up the medical crew and their luggage on the sandbank and flew back to the station in St. Peter-Ording.
Conclusion of the crew: "That was a close save!"