To make this website work, we log user data. By using Shephard's online services, you agree to our Privacy Policy, including cookie policy.

Open menu Search

Prince Philip Award for Courage to Culdrose SAR Crew

27th October 2009 - 08:45 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


The Crew of "RESCUE 193" 771 Naval Air Squadron based at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose in Cornwall, has been recognised by the Guild of Air Pilots & Air Navigators (GAPAN) with the prestigious Prince Philip Helicopter Rescue Award for displaying "outstanding courage and devotion to duty" for an arduous 20 hour mission to rescue a severely injured fisherman in gale force 8 conditions.

The Crew will receive the award on Thursday 29 October at the GAPAN Annual Trophies & Awards Dinner, held at The Guildhall in The City of London.

The Guild is the premier organisation for aviators, established to maintain the highest standards of air safety through the promotion of good airmanship.

On the night of 10 November 2008, Royal Navy rescue helicopter "Rescue 193" of 771 Search and Rescue Squadron based at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose were scrambled at the request of the Spanish authorities in Madrid to aid a fisherman onboard the Spanish fishing vessel "Pesca Verdes Tres" which was reported to be 150nm SW of the Isles of Scilly in a westerly gale force 8 with rough seas. With the crew was BBC camerawoman, Erica Wilson, who was filming for "Sea Side Rescue" and found herself helping in the rescue effort.

"Rescue 193" arrived on scene at 02.55am in atrocious conditions - gale force seas, inky black night and the Pesca Verdes Tres was rolling excessively in the deep south-westerly swell which was also causing the vessel to pitch and fall by 45ft in the very gusty and extremely turbulent wind conditions.

Due to the constant violent movement of the fishing vessel, it took more than thirty minutes to get Chief Petty Officer Dave Rigg, the on-board Aircrewman, onto the pitching deck, a hazardous place due to the numerous obstructions and radio aerials attached to the ship.

The fisherman had been critically injured by a cable that had parted and almost severed his upper and lower torso, and Chief Petty Officer Rigg was faced with a desperately injured man covered in blood and clearly in need of urgent medical care.

After an hour of dedicated care, followed by a wild recovery to the aircraft he continued to administer emergency care, successfully resuscitating the casualty on 5 separate and emotional occasions. Despite all Chief Rigg's efforts, the fisherman died from his severe injuries before Rescue 193 reached the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro. By the time the crew returned to RNAS Culdrose they had been on duty for nearly 20 hours.

(Erica Wilson was subsequently presented with a Citation for Bravery by Captain Graeme Mackay, Commanding Officer of RNAS Culdrose.)


The Shephard News Team


The Shephard News Team

As part of our promise to deliver comprehensive coverage to Premium News and Defence Insight …

Read full bio

Share to