Surrey Search & Rescue (SurSAR) relies on its vehicles to provide a vital lifesaving service transporting its team and equipment through England’s most densely wooded county. The organisation opted for the Volkswagen Amarok as the ideal solution to replace its long-standing 4×4, with the Amarok’s excellent off-road capabilities and class-leading load capacity key factors in the decision.
Specialising in the rescue of missing people, SurSAR covers large areas of wilderness on a day-to-day basis, and required a vehicle that could perform on all terrains. The Amarok was the perfect fit for the team combining innovative technology including ESP and off-road ABS, with an impressive load area of 2.5m2.
The Amarok has been converted to purpose for SurSAR’s search and rescue operations and is the first of its kind to be in active service in the UK. Working as SurSAR’s initial response vehicle, the Amarok carries essential medical equipment and is fitted with the latest GPS tracking technology. The Amarok’s permanent 4MOTION four-wheel drive system delivers optimal off-road performance and gives the team the ability to tackle steep gradients of up to 45° and power through water depths of up to half a metre.
An innovative feature of the SurSAR Amarok is a large TV monitor installed on its custom hardtop, which can connect to one of the team’s unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). The screen provides the team with real-time information relayed from the UAV to give an airborne view of the area, allowing them to look for any changes in terrain or colours that may indicate a missing person below. When on the road the screen flips up for unobstructed driver visibility.
Séamus Kearns, SurSAR Head of Operations, said: ‘The Volkswagen Amarok is already proving itself a valuable asset for the team, fully meeting our requirements both on- and off-road. The Amarok’s ground clearance, ruggedness and capacity to operate in half a metre of water, more than matched the performance of the 4×4 vehicle it replaced.
‘The Amarok’s spacious interior offers the team a comfortable and refined ride, providing ample room for our crew and their kit. The 180 PS BiTurbo engine has also delivered outstanding performance, making the Amarok a very capable tow vehicle which is ideally suited to transporting the team’s RIB.’