Britain’s Prince William took part in the rescue of several Russian sailors who were stranded in the Irish Sea Sunday when their cargo vessel broke up in rough waters and sank, leaving at least one crew member dead.
Several of the other sailors aboard the Swanland cargo ship, which was loaded with limestone, remain missing, according to published reports. Two were rescued.
The prince is a member of Britain’s Royal Air Force and the defense ministry has said he was co-piloting one of the helicopters that carried rescuers to the sailors in distress, according to the Associated Press.
He is known professionally as Flight Lt. William Wales, a pilot with the RAF’s Search and Rescue Force. In an interview with the BBC earlier this year, he said the job was demanding but rewarding.
“Every day, you come in to work and you don’t quite know what’s going to happen,” he said. “It’s quite exciting in that’s sense. It’s unpredictable. But at the same time, it’s great that you get to go out and actually save someone’s life, hopefully, or at least make a difference to someone, you know. When you know that they’re in trouble, you do everything you can to get there.”
He added that the “team environment” in the cockpit made it “very much sort of a big family in the sky, and the guys do a fantastic job.”
“I’m very privileged to be flying with some of the best pilots, I think, in the world,” he said.