Channel Islands Air Search - Operational Activities During 2012


On behalf of CIAS, I am pleased to distribute the following Report by Colin Ferbrache, Chief Officer:

‘There has been an increase in call outs for the Channel Islands Air Search aircraft Lions’ Pride during 2012 as compared to the last two years with 19 missions flown by mid December. The searches have been varied although a trend has been an increase in those for missing persons on land primarily in coastal areas. The service has much to offer in these situations as it is able to cover a large area quickly, is able to look directly
down into less accessible spaces and or use its infra-red equipment to locate heat sources and when a contact is located can guide those on the ground onto the target using its communication suite of radios and cell phones. In one case, it took the police an hour to reach the casualty’s location being obscured by the terrain and undergrowth although clearly visible from the air.

'However, most sorties were over the sea, these included searches for an overdue yacht and fishing vessel, missing divers, a man overboard, as well as a number of other vessels in difficulty. Some of these searches were in response to call outs from the French rescue coordination centers, by augmenting their search capability the island authorities can call on them for support including use of their helicopters.

'Air Search continues to be a unique operation providing an effective search capability in and around the Channel Islands by day and night 365 days a year. In fact with the demise of the RAF Nimrod fleet we are possibly the only FLIR (Forward Looking Infra Red) equipped fixed wing maritime SAR aircraft operating in the British Isles. Long may this continue as the service relies on a large number of people devoting their time
and efforts to the common good, whether as a member of the crew, trustees, friends or supporters in all the Islands. All are to be thanked for their contribution to what is a valued life saving resource.’ 

Derek Short, Chairman of Trustees of CIAS said ‘The Trustees would like to thank most sincerely all those companies and individuals who have contributed during the past year, enabling Lions’ Pride to be available on a 24/7 basis to assist in searches at the request of the Coastguard services of Guernsey and Jersey and on some occasions, the French and UK Search & Rescue (SAR) authorities.’

Each year, the supporters of CIAS in the Channel Islands and more recently, via collection points throughout the Condor Ferries fleet, have to raise around £95,000 to keep Lions’ Pride airborne. In addition to the annual running costs, funds have to be raised for capital items, such as the engine replacement programme and other essential equipment.

It is entirely due to the support received these past 32 years that allows this voluntary service to continue.

Further information:

Captain Brian Nibbs
Press Officer, Channel Islands Air Search
Tel: 01534 856550 Email:

Tags: Annual Reports