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NAVY NEWS, MARCH 2009 7
Peak performances
WITH an ominous cloud of sleet and
Instead, the Sea King flew down The Cobbler stranded climbers by mobile, which helped
snow swirling around The Cobbler,
to pick up Arrochar Mountain Rescue Team, fly refi ne their position, and also ask them to fl ash
a Sea King from HMS Gannet fl ies
them up the slope to a spot as close as they a torch which would help in the search. Using
could get to the injured mountaineer and night vision goggles, the helicopter’s crew
to the rescue of a climber who fell leave the casualty in the capable hands of the located the fl ashing torchlight and winched the
more than 100ft as winter tightened
volunteers. She was subsequently carried down climbers to safety before delivering them to the
its grip on Scotland.
the hill to a waiting ambulance and treatment rendezvous point at Rowardennan, on the east
The Kings of the Mountains found themselves
for a suspected broken shoulder plus slight shore of Loch Lomond.
in demand in the worst of the winter weather,
head injuries. “Conditions really were quite testing for
first on the 2,900ft peak near Arrochar, then at
As night set in, so too did the clouds and the both of these rescues,” said Lt Cdr Nicholas.
Ben Lomond.
Sea King was grounded in Arrochar. It cleared “Not being able to hover at The Cobbler was
The Cobbler proved the more challenging
suffi ciently for the helicopter to be able to return very frustrating as we would have been able to
rescue thanks to horrendous weather
to Prestwick... only for a fresh SOS to come in. get the injured woman off the mountain a lot
conditions.
This time, two men in their mid-30s were quicker that way.
Pilots Lt Cdr Bryan Nicholas (Gannet’s CO)
reported missing on the east side of Ben “Searching in the dark is always tricky.
and Lt Cdr Stuart Pike, observer Lt Tim Barker
Lomond, eight miles east of The Cobbler. Luckily, though, we were able to track the men
and aircrewman PO Marcus ‘Wiggy’ Wigfull
One of the men had lost his glasses on the down quite quickly, which, in the plummeting
found the climbing casualty – but were not able
Ben and, as a result, was only able to make very temperatures, was what it was all about – you
to hover at the scene and pick her up.
slow progress down the mountain as he was really don’t want to be stuck on the mountain in
essentially unable to see. those kind of conditions overnight.
Despite being experienced, well-equipped “But they had got a torch with them and they
and starting to head down in daylight, the duo’s were able to use that to allow us to see them
descent was so slow in deteriorating conditions, more easily and, therefore, quickly.
that they had felt it necessary to raise the “So it was a job well done by all those
alarm. involved, including both the mountain rescue
Twenty-three members of Lomond teams we were working with.”
Mountain Rescue were already on The Sea King and crew fi nally touched
the slopes in an effort to fi nd the down back at base at 2am after ten hours away
men in the pitch dark. conducting their rescues.
The crew were able to They were back in the air the following
speak to the night to airlift a 30-year-old man to hospital
from Lochgoilhead in Argyll after he’d suffered
back injuries while sledging (ice on the roads
prevented the ambulance making the
journey).
Picture: LA(Phot) Iggy Roberts,
FRPU North
Endurance
hitches home
ICE ship HMS Endurance is
gearing up for a 9,000-mile ‘piggy
back’ home after almost sinking
in the Southern Ocean.
The Red Plum’s ship’s
company were on the verge of
abandoning the Antarctic survey
vessel when her engine room
fl ooded in the Magellan Strait
shortly before Christmas.
Sustained damage control
efforts by the sailors and the
assistance of Chilean tugs ensured
the ice ship did not founder and
she was eventually towed to Mare
Harbour in the Falklands.
There a reduced ship’s
company are preparing the ship
for the long trip home before
Endurance fi nally undergoes
extensive repairs.
The fl oodwater not only Ready for the wurst
wrecked Endurance’s machinery
compartments, it also spilled YOU can escape the UK, you can next. It was. Brocklesby’s engine
over into C Deck – mainly sometimes even escape its weather, room went up in (canned) smoke.
accommodation for the ship’s but you can never escape FOST. The canned smoke spread to a
company, some of whom lost Actually for ‘FOST’ read neighbouring German ship. Soon
thousands of pounds worth ‘SAGA’, the German equivalent of the jetty was fi lled with damage
of personal kit, as well as FOST… and no more forgiving. control and fi rst aid parties, local
irreplaceable family mementos. Just days after joining NATO’s fi refi ghters and medics, while
Huge heavy lift vessel Target, Mine Countermeasures Group the Brits evacuated ‘casualties’
6Y^Q^SYQ\IUQb" (" )
whose central section can 1, HMS Brocklesby arrived in (pictured above).
submerge allowing Endurance Neustadt, a picture-postcard town Ashore, SAGA had more in
Numbers helped and charitable spend to date 3817 and £2,101,568
to be fl oated on and carried on the Baltic coast about 30 miles store for the Portsmouth-based
home, is due to bring her back to southeast of Kiel. sailors: real fi refi ghting training
Portsmouth by the end of March. Appearances can be decep- (and a chance to see how quickly
A substantial amount of tive. Neustadt is also home to the air is used up under stressful
equipment has to be removed Deutsche Marine’s Schadens situations), stopping fl ooding
from the Red Plum before she abwehr und Gefechtsausbildung and sea survival – which involved
can be moved on to the Target, (Damage control and combat donning an immersion suit and
other kit – such as lighting and training or SAGA) school. life jacket in less than two minutes
ventilation – is being restored to The NATO mine force spent before jumping into the Baltic and
working order, and machinery two weeks in the hands of SAGA. clambering into a raft.
and compartments damaged by It was anything but a holiday The week in Neustadt wasn’t all
the sea water are being preserved. (groan – Ed). exercises and hard work; there was
“It is too early to accurately The task group arrived to a touch of friendly competition in
assess when the ship will be fully protestors (bearing an uncanny the sporting arena – cross-country
repaired and ready to go safely resemblance to SAGA staff…) running, swimming and football.
back to sea again,” said CO Capt waving banners and placards ‘Go The Brits won the run, took
Gavin Pritchard. home NATO!’ and rioters trying second place in the swimming Men and women in the Royal Marines and Royal Navy serve their country,
“It is the Navy’s intent to to force their way on to the ships. relay and qualifi ed for the semis of
get the ship back to patrolling After the unrest subsided came the football contest… where they
often at times of danger: the RNBT serves them and their families, at times
Antarctica as soon as safely the terror threat and a suspected ran into the Germans (inevitably)
of need, throughout their lives. Your donations help us to help them.
possible thereafter. bomb hidden aboard the Latvian and lost 1-0 (also inevitably).
“On a personal note, I remain ship LVNS Talivaldis. It fell to And then it was back to sea for
very proud of my ship’s company. Brocklesby’s ship’s company – and another SAGA special: salvage
The Royal Naval Benevolent Trust
Since the fl ood commenced, her diving team who are trained work, (drill) mine clearance and
Castaway House, 311 Twyford Avenue, Portsmouth PO2 8RN
there has been a substantial and in bomb disposal – to root out the a major disaster exercise among
ongoing effort to keep the ship offending explosive device. others. The Germans know how to
t 023 9269 0112 f 023 9266 0852 e rnbt@rnbt.org.uk w www.rnbt.org.uk
safe.” Riot. Bombs. Fire must be have fun…
007_NN_Mar.indd 1 16/2/09 18:26:57
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