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Piracy mission for Westcountry aircrew

A team from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose set sail to the Indian Ocean today on a six month deployment helping in the fight against piracy.

The team will spend six months in the Indian Gulf, Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Gulf. Credit: RNAS Culdrose

The Aircrew and engineers from 829 Naval Air Squadron and their Merlin helicopter are heading to the Indian Gulf aboard HMS Sutherland. They will help with Counter Piracy Operations within the area as well as surveillance for Counter Drug and People and Weapon trafficking.

Bravery award for Culdrose winchman

Sgt Tony Russell put his life at risk to save others Credit: Royal Navy

A helicopter winchman based at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall has received a bravery award from the Duke of Edinburgh for his role in saving the crew of a yacht in high winds and heavy seas. Sgt Tony Russell put his own life at risk during the night-time rescue last July.

Sgt Tony Russell with the Billy Deacon Memorial Trophy Credit: Royal Navy

Sgt Russell was presented with the Billy Deacon Memorial Trophy by the Duke at St James's Palace. The trophy is named after a winchman who died while carrying out duties in the Shetlands in 1997.

Sgt Russell rescued the two crew of a yacht who had taken to a liferaft. One man was rescued after the liferaft inverted. The winchman found him in an air pocket. He was saved after Sgt Russell had spent 30 minutes in the water, at night and in appalling conditions.