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  • united kingdom Rescue from ss Merc Enterprise

    c 30 nm S of Plymouth


    In high winds and mountainous seas, the Danish freighter ss Merc Entrerprise carrying a grain cargo, foundered south of Plymouth. Lands End Radio received the distress call and because it was beyond the range of the based Whirlwind HAR.9 SAR Flt, an ad hoc group of available Sea Kings were mobilised from RNAS Culdrose to meet the only recently established (1973) SAR commitment.

    Apart from the gallant rescue of survivors and the tragic loss of life, a valuable lesson learned was the threat posed by salt ingestion into the Gnome engines, as both 89 55 and XV699 ended up making hazardous emergency landings, short of Culdrose.


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    DatesRotary Wing Aircraft UnitModels
        16jan74 UK 706 Squadron Fleet Air Arm Wasp
    Sea King
        16jan74 UK 824 Squadron Fleet Air Arm Sea King
        16jan74 UK Foreign Training Unit Fleet Air Arm Sea King
    Sea King

    Not all models shown may have taken part in the Operation

    Individual helicopters

    Model IDs
    Westland Sea King HAS.1 XV657     XV698     XV699    
    Westland Sea King Mk.41 89+51     89+55    


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