Manchester firefighters fly to Morocco to join earthquake search and rescue missions

True local heroes.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 13th September 2023

Five local firefighters have flown to Morocco to join national search and rescue efforts following a devastating earthquake. 

After a shocking 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit the African country on 8 September, the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue (GMFRS) crew members flew out to Marrakech on Sunday evening (10 September) to form part of the UK International Search and Rescue (UKISAR) team carrying out vital search and rescue efforts.

The UKISAR is made up of 60 operational crew members from 14 fire and rescue services, and has been deployed following a request for support from the Moroccan government.

The GMFRS firefighters consists of Station Manager Martin Foran, who is acting as Operations Commander – and who also travelled to the Turkey-Syria border earlier this year to support the UKISAR search and rescue operation following the earthquake there – and is joined by Watch Manager Gavin Kearsley from Ashton Technical Response Unit, who will be a crew leader.

Watch Managers John Hughes and Simon Cording from Leigh TRU are also on the team in Morocco, as is Crew Manager Ross Strother from GMFRS’s Technical Training team – with all three acting as technicians.  


The Morocco team are also being supported back here in Greater Manchester by Watch Manager Mike Hirst – who is coordinating the GMFRS response.

GMFRS says it’s “pleased” to be able to offer its support to Morocco at a time of need.


Speaking as the Greater Manchester team flew out to Marrakech, Barry Moore – who is the Assistant Chief Fire Officer at GMFRS – said: “GMFRS is pleased to be supporting the national search and rescue operation in Morocco, and we send our thoughts to the people of Morocco and everyone affected by this devastating event.  

“Our team of five highly skilled search and rescue technicians have safely arrived in Marrakesh where they have set up a base of operations.

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“We expect to hear more from the team in the coming days, but we are grateful to them and to their families.”

Featured Image – GMFRS