This month we have spoken to new IMRF member, James Bethell who’s worked in maritime rescue for over 20 years. We started by asking him about his company’s unusual name. 

Yellow Scorpion’ derives from James’s Royal Air Force (RAF) past.

In the RAF, qualified helicopter crews must complete an extra year of dedicated SAR training before they are qualified to conduct SAR duties. At the end of the training the final test is a large exercise – called ‘Exercise Yellow Scorpion’ - conducted over three days, that involves the helicopter crew flying all around the UK completing a series of challenging rescues in different environments by day and night. 

Today, based in Perth, Australia, the company is made up of mainly ex-Royal Air Force SAR instructors and so the title fits the basis of the company and the standards that it founded it. 

Yellow Scorpion is a small company with a large pool of very experienced crews working on a project basis.

Most of the work is working with helicopter companies to provide experienced SAR personnel for short term SAR projects, the team can also upgrade any existing SAR Operations Manuals and deliver bespoke training programmes. 

The Yellow Scorpion staff have worked on some of the most advanced search and rescue projects in recent times.

They have been the SMEs and instructors on projects introducing all weather search and rescue for large organisations.

They are delivering the first civilian Mexican search and rescue capability in the Gulf of Mexico. We have trainers and examiners who are trained across multiple aircraft types who are approved to deliver SAR training across the world.

Some of the trainers are also qualified paramedic instructors in the UK, Australia and Asia.

The company provides rescue planning, maritime rescue, military rescue, technical rescue and surf rescue. 

They are qualified airborne sensor operators and are currently working alongside a drone company to deliver the first search and rescue drone with accompanying technology providing mission managers and sensor operators for the project. 

Yellow Scorpion works with helicopter companies, MRCCs and offshore energy providers advising on emergency planning as well as delivering the required training.

They work with aviation safety authorities in countries around the world to help them set national standards for SAR helicopters and work with MRCCs on rescue planning particularly for airborne searches and electro optic searching. 

All together the Yellow Scorpion team have conducted over 1000 rescues over 5 continents, they come from the highest levels of the RAF SAR force and have worked everywhere from the North Sea to the battlefields of Afghanistan. 

James concludes by saying that he has a real passion for improving SAR techniques and sharing best practices.

He’s recently been looking at ways to improve maritime night searching. Bearing in mind that it’s generally dark for as long as it’s light and with the introduction of SAR drones for electro optic searches in the near future, he thinks that skills in this area are a key area for improvement. 

Read more about James’s work on night searching here

Last but not least, James’s wife is also a SAR rescue pilot, during their time in the RAF, she was the captain while he was in the cabin.

Now a director of Yellow Scorpion, she featured in a documentary 'the passenger who landed a plane’ about a passenger who had to be talked through landing a plane when the pilot was taken ill.