An Atlas A400M from RAF Brize Norton and a Poseidon MRA1 from RAF Lossiemouth have been working together to help rescue a sailor from the Atlantic Ocean after his yacht was critically damaged in storm Ciarán.
The Norwegian registered yacht put out a distress call late on 2nd November after coming into difficulties and losing both masts in the high seas of the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 700 miles off the coast of Cornwall.
Initially a French Navy FA50 Falcon was launched to locate the vessel and confirm that its captain was alive. At first light on 3rd November an RAF Atlas A400M was launched and then subsequently a Poseidon to take over responsibility for the task.
Both aircraft can carry survival equipment, which they can drop using parachutes to support mariners. The Poseidon carries an air search and rescue survival kit called a Uni-Pac 3, which contains a survival raft and other emergency equipment.
The Poseidon from 201 Squadron monitored the yacht to ensure that the captain remained onboard. If he had been thrown overboard, the aircraft would have dropped its liferafts and survival equipment capsule. The Poseidon crew guided a merchant ship called Green Azure to the location to rescue the sailor.
The RAF worked closely with a number of UK and international agencies, including HM Coastguard, to help ensure the sailor was returned to safety.
Poseidon aircraft and crews are on constant standby to respond to incidents such as this. The duty crew reacted quickly and professionally to help support the successful rescue of the sailor. The success of the mission is a testament to their professionalism and excellent training.
Wing Commander Adam Smolak,
The Officer Commanding 201 Squadron