Culdrose Helicopter Crew Receive Bravery Award

A crew from RNAS Culdrose will today be recognised for courage, leadership and outstanding teamwork for an air/sea rescue in dangerous sea conditions off Scilly last year.

Mike Luscombe, Martyn Roskilly, Jason Sawyer and Antony Russell of Rescue 193 based at 771 Naval Air Squadron, will be presented with the Edward and Maisie Lewis Award at the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society’s annual Skill and Gallantry Awards in London.

The helicopter was scrambled to assist the yacht ’Andriette’ late in the evening on Thursday 7th July last year. It had had lost steering in the rough seas 75 nautical miles south west of Scilly. The engine was unserviceable and the sails could not be hoisted so the two crew members abandoned the yacht for their life-raft.

The rescuers battled strong headwinds and heavy rainsqualls to reach the vessel where Captain Roskilly established a 70ft hover over the life raft in atrocious conditions and Winchman Sergeant Russell was lowered to rescue the crew.

As they rose towards the aircraft a large wave capsized the life raft and the remaining survivor was lost from sight.

Sergeant Russell was lowered again and dived under the raft. He found the man after he surfaced in an air pocket.

Lieutenant Sawyer says the rescue may have happened last year but he still remembers it because the weather was so severe.

He says the Culdrose crew often receive thank you letters for the work they do, particularly from islanders.

The Shipwrecked Mariner’s Society has been presenting the gallantry award annually since 1851. They recognise the UK’s unsung heroes who risk their lives in dangerous sea and air rescues.