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Royal Navy Warship Lends a Deck to Lydd Search and Rescue

October 02, 2015

HMS Echo, a Plymouth-based survey ship, was returning back to the UK after a survey operation in the North Sea as Bristow’s Lydd-based search and rescue crew was looking for a ship to conduct a routine winch training exercise.

Onboard Bristow’s AgustaWestland AW139 helicopter was Winchman Mark "Soapy" Warters, Captain Peter Collins, Co-pilot Al Dale and Winch Operator Alex Brown, who called upon HMS Echo for assistance as she was transiting the English Channel.

Happy to help with the training sortie, HMS Echo offered up its quarterdeck. Captain Collins leveled the helicopter, the side door was opened and the winchman was carefully lowered down to the warship as she moved through the water.

After completing what the Royal Navy described as a textbook landing, Warters, who left the Royal Navy in March to join Bristow search and rescue, chatted with sailors onboard before the helicopter returned to collect him. Having been winched back into the hovering aircraft, there was time for one last fly-past and a wave goodbye before parting company with HMS Echo and disappearing across the horizon.

"All in all, the service provided by HMS Echo and her crew was excellent and we look forward to working with her again," said Captain Dale.

"I am very pleased that we were able to assist the Coastguard today and maintain the strong links between our two services," said HMS Echo's Commanding Officer Commander Phillip Newell. "The Coastguard can be called upon at any time to save life at sea and working together makes sure this can be done in a safe and efficient manner."