The number of human lives–civilians and fire fighters, property-houses, farms, buildings, chapels, monasteries etc., livestock and forests that the Erickson’s AIR CRANE® fire fighting crews and S-64 have saved since 1999 in Greece and the number of times the helicopters operated and dropped water among houses, next to hospitals etc, is nearly impossible to count.
- Earthquake relief mission, Turkey: Following a devastating earthquake in Turkey, the oil refineries at the Turkish city of Izmir caught fire. The Greek government responded to the Turkish governments’ appeal to help in sending two Canadair CL415 fire bombers and the one Erickson S-64 to assist in the AIR CRANE® fire suppression mission.
- Medevac: A female firefighter fell off a cliff in the Akrata Peloponnese area and was badly injured. The ground troops called for help and the operating helicopter offered to provide assistance and medevac her to the nearest hospital at Patras.
- First recorded urban AIR CRANE® firefighting mission in Greece: While fighting a raging wildfire on the mountains south of Patras city and while sea-snorkeling at the harbor of Patras, the interpreter spotted a column of smoke at a highly dense part of Patras – third largest city of Greece. More operations followed, like in the northern suburbs of Athens, numerous villages around the country etc.
- Trapped firefighters: On a huge wildfire in the region of western Macedonia, (at the time of the events) deputy fire chief of Greece, Konstantinos Karantonis and a small group of firefighters got trapped by the flames with no way to escape. Erickson’s S-64, specifically N159AC, piloted by Kenny Chapman, co-pilot Mike Life and interpreter George Roumbos operating on the fire, responded to the distress call and opened a way out for them with two water drops.
- After a special request by the FYROM government to the Greek government, N159AC, piloted by Mike Rarity, co-pilot Mike Sherlock and interpreter George Roumbos crossed the borders of the two countries and operated on a wildfire inside FYROM.
- Lost hiker: In the mountains north of Ioannina, a hiker was reported as lost. The crew was able to locate the lost hiker, radioed in his position and guided the ground rescue troops.
- Trapped deputy fire chief of Greece, Andreas Kois found himself trapped in a small chapel on top of a hill at a blazing wildfire at the island of Milos. The helicopter crew operating on the fire managed to create a safe zone around the small building with accurately placed drops and allowed the deputy Fire Chief to escape to safety.
- European Economic Summit of the EU Prime Ministers at Porto Carras Meliton Hotel/resort, the crew and security detachment landed close by the resort and actually flew over the resort after some protesters started fires using Molotov fire bombs.
- 2004 Olympic Games: During the Olympic Games of Athens, the women’s shot-put games were held at the site of the Ancient Olympic Games at Ancient Olympia, Peloponnese, mechanic Gary Amidon and interpreter George Roumbos took position at a close by field as a stand-by force in the event of a fire close to where the event was taking place.
- Helios Airways Flight 522 crash into Gramatiko hill: Following the crash, a wildfire started and two Erickson S-64’s took part in the AIR CRANE® fire fighting operations, suppressing the fires on the crashed airliner and the surrounding hills.
- The crew spotted two arsonists starting fires in different locations, reported them in and they were arrested that same afternoon. Interpreter George Roumbos testified to the Fire.
- N957AC, piloted by Eric Darsonval, co-pilot David Bergin and interpreter George Roumbos saved the archeological site of Ancient Messini by AIR CRANE® firefighting, while on a fire mission nearby.
- A Canadair Cl215 crashed on a fire in Dervenohoria and two air-cranes rushed to the scene saving the two pilots’ lives from certain death. The full story can be found here. For the record, the interpreters on board were Sotiris Pashos on N957AC and Alkis Paraskevopoulos on N164AC.
- A big fire erupted in the old city of Lefkada at the island of Lefkada, threatening to burn down the entire historical old center. N957AC piloted by Mike Strasser, co-pilot Don McLeod and interpreter Sotiris Pashos managed to put the fire out, saving the old historical center. Story can be found here.