Navy helicopter crew rescue French sailor trimaran capsizes off tip of Cornwall

The personnel found the sailor on the upturned boat roughly four miles off Porthcurno, Cornwall.

emergency distress beacon
The crew involved in the rescuing the French Sailor off the coast of Cornwall (Picture: Royal Navy).

A Royal Navy helicopter crew have rescued a lone yachtsman from a capsized trimaran off the coast of Cornwall.

Personnel from 814 Naval Air Squadron were on a training exercise when they picked up the signal from an emergency distress beacon.

The crew from The Flying Tigers then heard a ‘mayday’ radio call on the maritime distress frequency and, in contact with coastguards at Falmouth, found the Yachstmans on the upturned boat roughly four miles off Porthcurno.

After lowering aircrewman on a winch line, the French sailor was lifted into the Merlin Mrk2 helicopter.

Lieutenant Commander Chris Ford was operating the winch and directed the pilots from the open side door of the Merlin and said the rescue went “extremely smoothly”.

“The man appeared unharmed and was only wet up to his knees,” he said.

“He was shocked though and the aircrewman sat with him to reassure him. 

“My key concern was if there was anyone else in the boat. He didn’t speak English, only French, and I asked him: ‘One person? One person?’, until I was satisfied there was no one else missing.”

The crew could then see a fishing boat had arrived at the scene and a tanker was also heading in their direction.

As a precaution, the crew flew the rescued sailor to Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro.

Lieutenant Commander George Ridley, the Aircraft Commander and Squadron Senior Pilot, said the Squadron will help in such incidents “whenever possible”.

“I’m really pleased that 814 Squadron was able to assist this individual so quickly and I wish him a speedy recovery,” he said.

emergency distress beacon

“This was an excellent example of a whole-squadron effort from 814.”

Following the rescue, the crew returned to Mount’s Bay and completed their training exercise.

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