The U.S. Coast Guard is closing the Johns Island remote air facility that houses one of five SAR helicopters assigned to its Savannah, Ga., station, even as the state’s congressional delegation and local officials fight to save it. According to the Charleston Post and Courier. The closing date is Nov. 30
The copter would move back to the Georgia station and eventually on to somewhere else. The Georgia station, 80 miles from Charleston, will be cut back to three helicopters for rescue missions ranging from mid-Florida to the North Carolina line a move that piles critical minutes onto response times to emergency calls.
Rescues also would continue to be undertaken by boats moored in Charleston and other Coast Guard ports. Other support would include fixed wing aircraft from an air station in Elizabeth City, N.C., more than 300 miles away. State, local agencies and nearby “good Samaritan” mariners also would be called on, according to the Coast Guard.
The maritime community was stunned to hear that a port where tens of thousands of pleasure and commercial craft travel each year would be left without a vital SAR helicopter.