A group of eleven men representing a number of local institutions across the island followed a twoday Alternative Landing Point Finder Course, learning to marshal helicopters in emergency situations. This writes The Daily Herald. The course was provided jointly by the Netherlands Royal Marines and army stationed in Curaçao to ensure that local capacity exists to guide the landing of helicopters in situations of natural disasters or other emergencies. Helicopter landing instructor Sergeant Major Marnix Haverlap and Sergeant Major Frank Mulde trained the group for a disaster scenario in which the Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport cannot be used.
Among participants were members of the local Fire Department, RCN representatives, members of the local KPCN Police Force and members of the Saba Conservation Foundation. Public Works Department and the Harbour Office also sent representatives, all being tested at the end prior to certification.
The hands-on training involved simulations of landings with a helicopter. The simulation took place at the Saba airport and it was made possible by NuStar terminal, which offered to pay for the helicopter flight during the exercise. Participants learnt how to secure an alternative landing point and check if the helicopter can land on the site. One of the options in case Saba Airport cannot be used might be for instance on Booby Hill, but more alternatives can be found. Course participants had to prove they know how to marshal the helicopter, communicate via signals and guide a safe landing.