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April 24, 2015

By hovercraft.org

Flood Rescue

Flood Rescue

Hovercraft to the Rescue

Carbon Fibre Rescue Hovercraft

Flood Rescue Hovercraft

During flooding emergencies, hovercraft are very useful to save victims from drowning, and for delivering food, medicines and water purification bottles when roads and bridges are impassable or damaged.

Hov Pod Hovercraft recently introduced the world’s first production carbon fibre hybrid 8-seater hovercraft the Carbon Infinity powered by a 120HP Turbo powered engine.

Emergency situations – fast deployment

Despite the enormous press coverage on the effects of climate change, the recession has restricted the budgets of rescue organisations, and many are sometimes ill-prepared to offer assistance during emergencies. Hov Pod spokesperson Mike Glanville comments – “We frequently get calls during flooding emergencies to see whether we can ship hovercraft immediately, yet unfortunately hovercraft are built to customer specification and can take up to 8 weeks to build and then ship. Shipment by air costs double the cost of shipping by sea, so forward planning can really save lots of money”

Rescue craft in stock for emergencies, quick delivery

“Due to the popularity of the Carbon Infinity 120HP Turbo, we are now planning to step up production to have hulls held in stock for final assembly, and we plan to have a rescue hovercraft ready for immediate shipment.

Some customer wish to loan a hovercraft just for the emergency period, but the costs of return shipment, sending out an instructor during the emergency can add unnecessary costs that make short term loan an expensive option”

What makes this new hovercraft unique is the use of materials such as Carbon Fibre, Kevlar (used for bullet proofing applications) and HDPE. Hovercraft are very weight sensitive, and are usually constructed from thin glass fibre that lack the strength and durability of Carbon Fibre.

Compared to boats

Hovercraft have no propellers to get damaged by floating debris such as plastic bags, rice sacks, submerged items such as street furniture and wire fencing. Floods usually cause sewerage to overflow, and often rescuers are forced to wade through this hazardous stuff to reach victims. Boats do not handle shallow fast running water as well as hovercraft. Rising water levels changes the viscosity of sand and mud, which can traps victims, and expose them to the risk of death through drowning or hypothermia.

Compared to helicopters

When waters rise, people climb anything to escape, including electricity pylons and trees that obscure vision. Helicopters create 100 mph downdraft winds so are forced to have long winch cables that take time to reach a victim. Winch personnel have to travel up and down to secure victims to the harness, and helicopter weight restrictions prevent a winch-man from saving multiple victims per lift, he has to decide which flood victim gets rescued, while the others tread water. Helicopters usually have poor communications with those on the ground, victims have died because helicopters have not spotted the victim due to tree cover.

Ice and Mud rescue

Traditionally, this involves rescuers donning dry suits and throwing hand lines to victims who lack mobility due to hypothermia – such victims need emergency health care, so a hovercraft can reach victims and quickly get them to hospital. Mud victims need release from the suction of the mud, which is done by pumping air into the mud to release the suction – if this is not done, simple heaving the victim from the mud may cause them serious spinal injury, and a life of pain, so hovercraft can quickly reach the victim and deploy an air lance to free them, and get them to hospital for treatment.

Flood rescue

Once the water has been contaminated by sewerage overflow, diseases can spread, so the delivery of water purification bottles makes more sense than to deploy helicopters to supply water bottles. Helicopters are expensive to buy and operate, yet are weight sensitive, and water is heavy – once it’s been drunk, it’s gone, so far better to transport water purification systems.

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