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The hairy rescues at sea described by Captain Waters are usually by helicopter but far from simple. The SAR team (search and rescue) is aptly named in that search is often the operative word and rescue an anticlimax. Many planes go down without giving a radio fix and the SAR team will on occasion spend three days looking for survivors. Other times, in a heavy sea, when the helicopter lowers its basket to pick up a heart patient or appendix victim, the stationing of the chopper over the ship's moving and twisting masts will exhaust the blindly hovering pilot in minutes. His hands stiffen and the sugar dies in the blood. One touch of the masts on the chopper blades will make the plane explode instantly. Despite international systems of radio emergency control, the actual search and rescue remains a personal skill, Not only that, the chopper runs on one engine, and 400 miles at sea on one engine can set ice-cold cockroaches running up a pilot's back. Say in fog, or rain, or hail. It's very lonely, and most accidents don't happen in dancing sunlight at high noon. The writing here is on the Life magazine level, with no Time for Jokes.

Publisher: Van Nostrand