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VIDEO: Watch Moment A Cornish Rescue Crew Arrives At Sinking Boat
6:13am 6th November 2013
One of the Culdrose crew who helped rescue five fishermen from their sinking boat off the Lizard says it reminded him of the film "Titanic".
For the first time video is being released of the moment the rescue helicopter arrives at the scene.
All the crew were winched to safety in the early hours of Sunday morning as teams battled rough seas and fifty mile an hour winds.
The duty helicopter at RNAS Culdrose, Rescue 193, was scrambled at 1.30am on Sunday and was over the French-registered Panamera, about 20 miles southeast of the Lizard, just a quarter of an hour later.
The fishing vessel had been holed and was taking water. At first the Sea King crew lowered a pump down to the Panamera to try to keep the ocean at bay. But within ten minutes of the emergency pump being put into action by the fishermen, it was clear the vessel was taking on too much water.
The fishermen decided it was time to abandon ship and launched their liferafts - but these were very quickly lost due to the wind conditions and it was down to the Royal Navy to winch them up to safety.
"The vessel was beginning to heavily list as we began to lift the sailors on board the helicopter," said Lt Paul Smalley, one of two pilots in the Sea King.
"The Panamera had also lost its steerage which meant the vessel was surfing the waves accelerating and decelerating rapidly making it difficult to get a stable platform."
Two of the sailors were winched safely and a third was winched as the vessel was sinking. The final two had to jump into the water but were quickly winched up with aircrewman Petty Officer Mark Richardson ensuring they were lifted safely into the Sea King.
"It was close and I was concerned that if we didn't get a move on they would be swept away," said Mark. "It was only us on the scene at the time so we couldn't make any mistakes."
Pilot Kapitänleutnant Steffan Volkwein - on exchange with the squadron from the German Navy - said the final seconds of the Panamera were particularly dramatic.
"It was eerie when the boat went down with it's lights still on as you could see a glow from under the water. I was reminded of the film Titanic. That was a tough rescue and a real eye opener."
Once safe, the fishermen were taken back to Culdrose for hot drinks and warm clothing.
"The whole event was very quick for us and being back in the Culdrose crew room with our guests watching TV minutes after pulling them from the water must have been very strange for them," said Lieutenant Commander Paul Robertson, Rescue 193's observer.
The crew have subsequently been repatriated via the Fishermen's Mission in Newlyn.6:13am 6th November 2013
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