February 7, 2008

Positivity: I was scared, says ferry hero

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:52 am

From Manchester, England (there is also video at the link):

2/ 2/2008

AN RAF hero admitted he was terrified after he winched sailors from a ship battered by 60mph winds.

Master aircrewman Rich Taylor, from Timperley, helped rescue 23 crew and passengers from a stricken Irish Sea ferry.

Rich, 38, and his RAF colleagues have been called `heroes’ by the transport minister. But the winchman played down his bravery at his base, RAF Valley, in Anglesey.

He said: “Without sounding cheesy, we were only doing our jobs. There’s an element of risk and crews do have the option if it’s too risky to back away but we realised the situation required us to get on.”

The vessel, called Riverdance, was grounded off the coast near Blackpool when a huge wave smashed into her.

She is being monitored by the coastguard in case of any oil spills as she is carrying 150 tonnes of fuel.

Rich said he feared for the people on board when he first saw the ship as she was leaning at a dangerous angle.

He said: “If it had gone over, the chances would not have been good for me or anyone else. With the fear of it rolling over, it focused minds.

“As I started winching people up there was a big swell and the aircraft pulled and the highline broke and one guy swung away from the boat. But we managed to get him and seven others onto the aircraft. I have seen some rough decks in my time but this was a good one.”

Tony Redding, from Seatruck Ferries which owns the Riverdance, paid tribute to Rich, his colleagues Flight Lieutenant Lee Turner, the co-pilot Flight Lieutenant Giles Ratcliffe and winch operator Sergeant John Stephens and the ship’s captain.

He said: “What the aircrews did in 60mph gusts with the boat listing and managing to get everybody off without injury was exceptional. We are also very proud of our own crew.” …..

Go here for the rest of the story.

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