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Heroes to the rescue

These heroes save lives

The overflowing Skat River has closed the path of the flooded city of Mizia, Bulgaria and the disaster area has become more difficult to access. The situation in the area remains difficult. The level of incoming water did not decrease throughout the day. The element took the life of one person, it is claimed that there was another victim, but the information was not confirmed. The deceased man was found in his home this morning after refusing to evacuate at night. At present, there are no people in the unknown, but there are many who have not heeded the warnings and despite the danger they refuse to leave their homes, Interior Minister Tsvetlin Yovchev said. More than 600 people have already been evacuated, rescuing people in Mizia is continuing.

The Bulgarian Air Force’s SAR Techs are called to the rescue

Early in the morning, two Cougars from Krumovo Air Force Base, with a crew of 10 evacuated people from the roofs and terraces of the houses. The rescue operation went through complicated conditions because of the many electrical equipment. The military rescuers and pilots say that the flood here is more terrible than the disaster in Biser and Varna. Thanks to them , 14 people were rescued with ropes and boats.

The aerial rescue has been conducted under the command of  Chief pilot Gen. Zlatko Zlatev, Commander of the 24th Air Baser at that time, on one of the Airbus Cougar helicopters with Col. Anton Hristozov, as shown in the photos below:

BW cOMMANDO

 

Since 1943, Bulgaria’s Air Forces SAR techs have been saving the country and people in trouble

The over 100 years old history of the Bulgarian Air Forces has been marked by World’s First and self sacrifice of its pilots in protecting the skies and their countrymen and homеland. During war, peace, water flooding,  fire and other man made and nature disasters, they have been on standby and the safety blanket that covers the nation to sleep safe. Here are a few key points that show the history of the first sacrifices to the transition of transforming the SAR concept to a well trained unit with international experience:

  • On October 25, 1943, at 9.56 am, Skopje Station was attacked, about 20 bombs were dropped and one person was injured. Two Bulgarian Messerschmitt fighter jets take off. Lieutenant M. Grigorov manages to take down two fighters. on November 6, 1943 bombers returning from the raid to Ploiesti discharged from their bombardment from a great height above Plovdiv, no casualties
  • April 12, 1962 – Mi-4 helicopter saves the sick (burned) from Dimitrovgrad
  • In 2000 a Search and Rescue unit at the 24th Air Force Air Base, Bulgarian Air Forces is formed
  • On May 6, 2002, the SAR team, part of the Corpus Tactical Aviation, set two new world records fro rappelling and ascending form a flying helicopter

600 heli

Their idea of fun is jumping out of airplanes at night, over water with only the flickering light of flares to guide them.

They can make you a tossed dandelion salad with dried worm bits thrown in for some extra protein. Just pretend it’s bacon, they say.

They’ve fashioned snowshoes from spruce boughs and dug trenches in ice to endure minus 100C blizzards.

Their exploits read like the scripts of adventure movies – hoisting sailors from sinking ships in the Black Sea, plucking climbers off rocky cliffs and parachuting into the water to rescue capsized boaters.

But this is no Hollywood plot line. We are talking real-life heroes: Bulgarian SAR techs – search and rescue technicians – who have been saving stranded climbers, rope access workers, downed pilots and half-drowned boaters since the last century.

In fact, the bravery and daring  of the SAR techs have made them almost certainly the most highly decorated Bulgarian armed forces.

”We can go anywhere, anytime and at any height at the highest places in Bulgaria, on a 24/7 duty call,” says Col. Petko Kiskinov, Commander of the SAR team of the Bulgarian Air Forces.

“They’ll parachute, mountain-climb, descent, paraglide, scuba dive -anything to get to a victim,” says Emergency Services tech Ivan Kristoff, who has had joint training sessions with them. In 20o2, on board of MI 17 helicopter, with the #510 insignia, he, Col Anton Hristozow and the air crew of 24the AirBase Krumovo, set two new world records for rappelling and ascending on a rope while flying above the Madara Horsmen in Bulgaria. The expertise of his vertical and aerial rope access work at extreme heights is not well known, even within the suspended access industry. But he has responded to the most dangerous emergency calls in the high-rise and super high-rise structures in Toronto, including the very first vertical access on the Antenna Mast of world’s tallest structure in 2003 and the very first emergency repair of the top of the world’s highest restoration in 2004.

 

The Canadian Experience

 

Vertical rescue Together We Are Stronger

Ivan Kristoff hanging with the pilot’s overall and insignia of the Bulgarian Air Force’s SAR crew during the Worlds First rope access work over 500 meters above the ground. This uniform was given to him as a present from Gen. Dimitar Cvetkov, Deputy Commander of the Tactical Aviation Corpus after completing a new series of world records for heli rope access and his joint forces with the air SAR unit, 24th Air Base, Krumovo.

In Canada, where Ivan Kristoff has served in the 25t Medical Division of the Reserve Canadian Armed Forces, the SAR calls involve recreational activities, going to the rescue of weekend boaters and fliers whose days day of fun has suddenly turned to horror.

Дубай Хелишоу 2012Ivan Kristoff, who reshaped the concept of his Highrise Emergency Aerial Response Team (H.E.A.R.T.) to its Bulgarian version of a volunteer rescue team called Special Operation Service “SOS” team met with Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and global air rescue key players with whom he can develop  innovative solutions for vertical and aerial rescue.

Since Dubai Helishow 2010 | 2012 |2014 and Intersec 2018, Ivan have discussed his idea to create a rescue team in Dubai and work with the local EMS services in UAE, Brigadier Khalid Nasser Al Razooqi, Director of the General Department of Artificial Intelligence, Dubai Police and representatives of the UAE government.  Further Ivan presented his vision to the representatives of the Bulgarian government some of the topics that the use of Artificial Intelligence can apply: Cyber Security | Safety & Health | Homeland Security & Policing | Fire & Rescue

At the Dubai World AI Show, he met with another Canadian fellow Ryan Prox, S/Constable in Charge of Crime Analytics Vancouver Police Department, Canada to discuss the topic of The Future of Rescue with CAPT. DR. \ ESSA IBRAHIM BASAEED, Head of Technical Studies Section, Gen. Dept. of Artificial Intelligence Dubai Police and Professor, Carlson School of Management, UMN; Advisor, Dubai Police; Senior Advisory Board Member, Trescon.

He plans to organize special events on the topic of AI in Bulgaria and it can be filmed for a New Amazing TV Series. British and an American  TV production companies (who work with National Geographic TV, Discovery Channel, BBC, Channel 4, The History Channel, etc) approached me to the filming and they will pay for it and the distribution to the global TV networks.

As a volunteer rescuer, Ivan has established contacts with EMS services and met with the Royal Family of Dubai and Minister of Economy of  UAE.

A Selection of Value-Add Conferences at Intersec 2018Photography by Ivan Kristoff. Mark Mennie and Nikolay Dimov