HMS Queen Elizabeth: Carrier will be ready to help with life-saving hurricane relief Â

SUPERCARRIER HMS Queen Elizabeth is ready to provide life-saving aid in the event of a devastating hurricane or natural disaster, a top officer has said.

Saturday, 18th August 2018, 12:50 pm
Updated Sunday, 2nd September 2018, 10:09 pm
Captain George Eatwell of 40 Commando Royal Marines talking to residents in Road Town, Tortola after Hurricane Irma last year

Commodore Andrew Betton, who is heading up the small British taskforce of ships supporting HMS Queen Elizabeth's deployment to the US, said the 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier was ready to assist if needed.

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HMS Queen Elizabeth ready to set sail from Portsmouth today for first deployment...
Captain George Eatwell of 40 Commando Royal Marines talking to residents in Road Town, Tortola after Hurricane Irma last year

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Last year severe storms wreaked havoc across islands in the Caribbean, killing dozens of people and levelling entire communities.

Cdre Betton, who is the head of the UK carrier strike group, said that although his priority was to complete the trials of the F-35B, Queen Elizabeth and her support ships and helicopters could be scrambled to help if similar hurricanes battered the region.

He said: '˜It is a physical reality that happens quite often in that part of the world this time of year and if the situation demanded or political leaders at the time wanted us to do something then these are military assets.

'˜If the ship or aircraft were committed to any sort of hurricane relief activity there would be a knock-on impact on trials.

'˜Our priority is to deliver the trials but of course the situation can change.

'˜We have got a number of rotary wing assets that we have deployed with.

'˜Last year saw an intense hurricane activity and it would be foolish not to plan for any such contingency.'

HMS Ocean was last year deployed to provide aid to the British Virgin Islands after Hurricane Irma ravaged the area.

The helicopter carrier deployed sailors, soldiers and Royal Marines to bolster the efforts of 40 Commando and 59 Commando Squadron Royal Engineer.

RFA Mounts Bay was also involved in the rescue effort.