Royal Marine dives under to untangle from ropes

A Royal Navy helicopter crew has rescued two sailors, who abandoned their yacht, including one who was trapped under the liferaft.

Aircrewman Sergeant Tony Russell dived into the sea, 75 miles southwest of the Scilly Isles, and under the liferaft to untangle a yachtsmen from his ropes and lines.

The two sailors got into trouble on board their yacht Andrietta in a gale and called a Mayday, after engine failure and damage to their sails.

But the Sea King helicopter from Culdrose air station could not winch the two men off the boat, because of the strong winds and big sea, so the sailors disembarked the yacht into the liferaft.

Sgt Russell lifted the first sailor to safety, but then the raft capsized, throwing the second man into the sea.

The Royal Marine could not find the man, forcing him to dive under the water to extract him from the rope jumble, so his colleague could winch him onto the Sea King.

The two men were unhurt and the yacht was later recovered.

Sgt Russell said: ‘The job was up there as grade A.

‘It’s a strange thing to say, but I actually enjoyed the experience – although there were times when I thought my time was up.’

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