'Technical issues' delayed rescue

Technical problems with four search-and-rescue helicopters based at RAF Valley on Anglesey delayed the rescue of a crew on a stricken cargo ship.

RAF helicopter grounding 'extremely unusual'

rescue helicopter
'Substantial technical faults' led to the grounding of all the helicopters Credit: PA Wire

RAF staff reported that it was extremely unusual for all four of the RAF Valley helicopters to be unserviceable with such substantial technical faults.

The report added the performance of the crew from RAF Leconfield was was 'extremely commendable'.

It added: 'However, the risks they faced during the rescue were exacerbated by the lack of more locally available search-and-rescue helicopters.'

The MV Carrier ran aground in strong winds and large waves on the North Wales coast on April 3rd last year, having been loading limestone at Raynes Jetty at Llanddulas.

All seven Polish crew members were winched to safety and were uninjured, in spite of the delay. However, the vessel was substantially damaged and was declared a 'total constructive loss'.

'Technical problems' led to rescue delay

The MV Carrier ship was ran aground near Colwyn Bay Credit: Martin Rickett/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Technical problems with four search-and-rescue helicopters based at RAF Valley delayed a rescue of the crew on a stricken cargo ship, according to a report published today.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch said all the helicopters were unserviceable on the night the ship ran aground.

Helicopter crews from RAF Leconfield in Yorkshire were "obliged to make an extremely hazardous flight in very poor conditions across the width of the country" to reach the stricken ship, named Carrier, that was stranded off the coast close to Colwyn Bay.