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RAF, RN, et al. and Boscastle flood

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Old August 17th 04, 07:34 PM
Robert Briggs
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Default RAF, RN, et al. and Boscastle flood

There has been a major flood at Boscastle, near Tintagel in Cornwall.

Her Majesty's forces' SAR crews have taken a major part in rescuing

A BBC report starts thus:

'Miracle' no fatalities in flood

It is a miracle no-one appears to have been killed when a
devastating wall of water swept through Boscastle in north
Cornwall, according to the police.

Chief Supt Dave Hill said: "We look as if we are going to
get away, miraculously, without any fatalities."

But the incident commander added 15 people remained
"unaccounted for", as relatives still tried to contact them.

A massive clean-up operation is also under way in the
village, littered with upturned trees and crumbling walls.

About 150 people were airlifted to safety by the RAF in a
rescue operation that began mid-afternoon on Monday and
lasted till 0200BST on Tuesday.



The top photograph on that page shows a Royal Air Force Sea King
(presumably of 22 Squadron at Chivenor or 203 Squadron at St. Mawgan),
and all the helicopters I can recall seeing on news footage were RAF
Sea Kings, but they seem to have been assisted by the Royal Navy, HM
Coastguard, and a civilian operator, Castle Air.

Perhaps the fact that the military effort was co-ordinated by RAF
Kinloss (and that RAF St. Mawgan was the obvious refuelling stop)
contributed to the "RAF only" appearance of the BBC's report.

One of the local newspapers, the "Western Morning News" seems to
give a fuller (and fairer) view of the (mainly military) aviation
side of things:

Up to NINE helicopters were working around the clock to
airlift people trapped in trees or on the roofs of homes
during the massive operation to rescue up to 1,000 people
from the devastated Cornish village of Boscastle.

Six helicopters were scrambled from RAF St Mawgan and RNAS
Culdrose in Cornwall, and RAF Chivenor in north Devon. A
coastguard helicopter from Portland was also tasked, and
two civilian helicopters were helping.

At RAF St Mawgan, Flight Lieutenant Angie Knox said: "There
are seven aircraft going in, in addition to two civilian
air ambulances, and we have one of our helicopters at the


"We are literally a petrol station and a provider of a
large yellow helicopter."

RAF Kinloss in Scotland was co-ordinating last night's
military rescue effort. Michael Mulford, spokesman for RAF
Kinloss, said two adults and a baby had been rescued from a
car and taken to hospital.


At RAF St Mawgan, aircraft were "hot-fuelling" - refuelling
on the helipad with the rotors still running -- to minimise
the time spent on the ground.



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