Warship HMS Cornwall rescues dinghy survivors

Image caption, Five people were rescued and given medical assistance on HMS Cornwall

A Devonport-based Royal Navy warship has rescued five men from a sinking rubber boat in the Mediterranean.

A Lynx helicopter from HMS Cornwall was on routine flying operations when a dinghy was spotted by the flight commander on Monday.

The frigate launched a sea boat which recovered the survivors who were clinging to the sinking inflatable.

The helicopter's flight commander, Lt Cdr Steve Gamble, said: "It was simply pure luck that we spotted them."

"I just happened to glance out of the port window of the aircraft as we turned to approach the ship and caught a quick flash of colour, which I first thought was a fishing float," he said.

"However, not having seen any fishing activity in the area we decided to have a closer look and to our surprise it was five people clinging to the remains of a dinghy.

The survivors were taken aboard HMS Cornwall and given medical assistance from the ship's medical team.

The ship's commanding officer, Cdr David Wilkinson, said: "In these sea conditions, they are very lucky to be alive."

Another five people were in the inflatable boat when it overturned.

They are believed to have died before the dinghy was spotted by the ship's helicopter.

HMS Cornwall carried out a search of the area, but no trace was found of the missing people.

The survivors were put ashore in Algiers during a scheduled port visit by HMS Cornwall.

HMS Cornwall is en route to the Indian Ocean to join the Combined Maritime Force on counter-piracy operations.

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