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
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.