A week after the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force personnel based in the Falkland Islands assisted in the rescue all 347 passengers and crew from the stricken French cruise ship Le Boreal, they have conducted a long-range rescue of a British man from a Russian cruise ship on 26 November.
MV Akademic Sergei Vavilov was visiting South Georgia, 800 nautical miles to the east of the Falklands, when the man was bitten by what is thought to have been a fur seal at Salisbury Plain Beach. The casualty was in a serious condition with a major injury to his arm and urgent specialist medical attention was needed.
As the cruise ship headed for Stanley in the Falkland Islands, British Forces launched a rescue mission co-ordinated from the Joint Headquarters at Mount Pleasant. HMS Clyde sailed at speed to a position 200 nautical miles east of Stanley. Subsequently, an RAF Hercules took off for the cruise ship’s position and an RAF Search and Rescue helicopter was launched with a British military doctor aboard.
Due to the long distances involved, the helicopter flew to HMS Clyde and refuelled before flying a further 100 nautical miles to Akademic Sergei Vavilov. Once the helicopter was in position over the cruise ship, the casualty was winched into the helicopter which then returned to Stanley.