By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
THE Balearic government's 112 emergency service took delivery of a new air-sea rescue helicopter and a new mountain rescue dog called Ona yesterday.
The new helicopter, unveiled by the Balearic president Francesc Antich, will be primarily used to help the SAR air sea rescue service in mountain and maritime searches and emergencies.

The Balearics now has a fleet of 11 emergency helicopters including air ambulances, fire fighters and those operated by the National Police and the Guardia Civil. Over the past month, the search and rescue services have been working round-the-clock involved in three searches for missing people and a series of missions - some at night - to locate and rescue hikers lost in the Sierra de Tramuntana. The Guardia Civil mountain rescue team was also responsible for lifting 30 people to safety from Esporlas during the torrential storms on October 14. Neither the IB-Salut air ambulances nor the fire fighting choppers are prepared for mountain search and rescue missions so the principal task of the new helicopter will be to help locate and airlift lost people to safety. That said, the new chopper will be able to assist in fighting fires and, when necessary, air lift people and materiel in the event of a major emergency. The new helicopter and its crew can be airborne and enroute to an incident within ten minutes of the alarm being raised.

The other star of yesterday's presentation was the force's new search and rescue dog Ona.

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