Navy rescues ill skipper

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PORTSMOUTH-based Royal Navy patrol vessel HMS Mersey rushed to the aid of a fishing vessel after its skipper became ill.

Mersey was on routine fishery protection patrols about 20 miles south-west of Rye, East Sussex, when she heard a distress call to Dover coastguard at 10.20am yesterday.

The ship’s offer of help was accepted by the coastguard and her seaboat was launched immediately to assist the 10-metre vessel, Christy Ann, which was 12 miles away.

First-aiders, Petty Officer Rick Bonell and Leading Chef Felicity Liggins, stabilised the unwell skipper – a man in his 50s. Ten minutes later the coastguard rescue helicopter based at Lee-on-the-Solent arrived and winched the man to Eastbourne Hospital.

Mersey’s Lieutenant Paul Kilbride then steered the vessel to Rye Harbour.