Firefighter and search dog from Portlethen join Morocco rescue efforts

Crew Commander Gary Carroll (left), and Watch Commander Gavin Brown (right)

A firefighter and a search dog based at Portlethen have joined international rescue efforts, following the earthquake in Morocco.

Dog handler and Crew Commander Gary Carroll and his partner Coorie will help those affected in the North African country.

They'll be joined by Watch Commander Gavin Brown who works out of Dundee.

At least 2,500 people have died and some 2,500 more have been injured after a magnitude 6.8 quake struck on Friday night, according to latest UN figures.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) group have travelled to Africa as part of the UK International Search and Rescue Team (ISAR) deployed to Morocco through the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).

It is Coorie’s first deployment since graduating earlier this year from a training and assessment course provided by the National Fire Chiefs Council.

The two-year-old Malinois Belgian Shepherd will be able to operate as part of the UK ISAR and can help search in collapsed structures.

SFRS Deputy Assistant Chief Officer Bruce Farquharson, UK ISAR team manager in Scotland, said: “Our thoughts are with all those affected by the devasting earthquake in Morocco and upon arrival there our team will be ready to join the wider effort to help as many people as they can with their specialist skills.

“Crew Commander Carroll and Watch Commander Brown will of course now be supported by Coorie who will be able to provide additional help to them, the UK ISAR team and the emergency services already in place in Morocco.”

Most of the destruction and deaths were in Al Haouz province in the High Atlas mountains.

The UK has scrambled a team of 62 search and rescue specialists and four search dogs and rescue equipment, as well as a medical assessment team.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: “The UK Government has sent immediate support to Morocco including a team of 62 search and rescue specialists and four rescue dogs to assist with the rescue effort.

“I remain in contact with foreign minister Bourita and offer my deepest sympathies to the people of Morocco after this tragic event.”

It is the second time in 2023 that SFRS has deployed firefighters to a disaster zone.

In February, Watch Commander John Aitchison, Crew Commander Steven Adams and Firefighters Tony Armstrong and Keith Gauld were part of the operation following the earthquake in Turkey.

The UK ISAR team responds primarily to overseas urban search and rescue emergencies on behalf of the UK Government.

Dog handler and Crew Commander Gary Carroll and Coorie, and Watch Commander Gavin Brown

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