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Lithuanian Air Force Search Rescue Service to mark the 12th anniversary of its foundation


24 January 1994 marks a ”birthday" of the Search and Rescue Service of the Lithuanian Air Force (LAF). On that day LAF Mi8MT-1 helicopter (sideboard No 01) successfully participated in a search and rescue operation in the Baltic Sea for the first time.


On 24 January 2004 the Government of the Republic of Lithuania authorised the Ministry of National Defence to provide the Lithuanian Air Force with the primary rescue equipment required for rendering assistance to people and directed the Air Force to organise and carry out aviation search and rescue works in the event of natural calamities, air and maritime transport accidents and other emergencies. With a view to implement the resolution, on 1 March of that same year a helicopter was put on duty at the Zokniai - based First Air Base of the Lithuanian Air Force.


Thanks to rescue equipment donated by Denmark, renovation of helicopters transferred in accordance with the Lithuanian Republic Government's resolution, training of required personnel, possibilities for carrying out search and rescue operations have expanded. As of 2 March 1998, specialised helicopters have been on twenty-four hour duty at the First Search and Rescue Post (in Palanga); and since 17 December 2001 they have flying search and rescue operations from the Second Search and Rescue Post (in Kaunas).


On 13 April 2001 regulations for carrying out search and rescue operations by aircraft were approved by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania.


It has been twelve years so far that military personnel serving with the Lithuanian Air Force have been rendering assistance to people during spring floods and accidents, careless fishermen, they have been transporting patients and injured people to hospitals and airlifting donor organs for transplantation.

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