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Last Updated: Monday, 17 November, 2003, 07:21 GMT
Fire engine airlifted to island
Fire engine and helicopter
The fire engine was moved as part of a training exercise
Firefighters on a small island had a call-out with a difference when their new engine arrived - by helicopter.

The new fire engine was airlifted three miles over water to reach Caldey Island off the Pembrokeshire coast as it was too big to go on the ferry.

It is needed to replace the existing engine, and is vital to the island's small fire crew as it provides its own water in an area with severely-limited supplies.

Royal Air Force officers from 27 Squadron airlifted the engine using a Chinook helicopter.

The transportation of the engine was undertaken as part of a training exercise by the armed forces.

Officers from RAF Brize Norton loaded the engine from Penally Range near Tenby before the journey was made to Caldey Island Fire Station.

A fire engine has been used on the island, which is a private estate run by the monastery there, since 1986.

The monks were once responsible for running the fire service, but it has since been taken over by Mid and West Wales Fire Service.

The crew helps protect the 35 people aged from eight to 90 who live on the island, as well as around 2, 000 visitors every year.

The fire risks on the island include factories, farm buildings, churches, the Grade II Listed abbey, and other monastic properties.

The island was hit by a serious fire in 1940 in which the monastery suffered extensive damage.

Gareth Sullivan, Chair of the Mid and West Wales Fire Authority, said: "We are committed to safer communities and this fire engine is seen as necessary for the people of Caldey, as it is not possible to reach them from the mainland."

Wing Commander Wyn Evans, RAF Regional Liaison Officer, co-ordinated the lift.

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