Coastguards aid liner rescue

FALMOUTH coastguards were yesterday busy helping to rescue 900 of the passengers and crew of a stricken luxury liner who had taken to the lifeboats off the coast of East Africa.

A skeleton crew of 100 remained on board the Italian liner Achille Lauro.

The area off Somalia has no rescue services and Falmouth coastguards were relaying satellite messages to nearby vessels.

Watch Officer Gordon Whatley said three vessels were at the scene picking up passengers and latest reports were that they would all be picked up safely.

The operation was being co-ordinated by satellite from Stavanger in Norway because they had picked up the distress call.

Stavanger were broadcasting on INMARSAT A and Falmouth were on INMARSAT C.

"We have reports of heavy smoke pouring from the vessel but no flames have been seen. We have had no further news of the 20-degree listing reported earlier," said Mr Whatley.

The liner Achille Lauro hit the headlines in 1985 when it was hijacked by Middle Eastern extremists and a wheelchair-bound man was murdered.

Town plaque for police chief

CHIEF Inspector Charlie Batten has been one of the best-liked chiefs in Penryn and many will be sad to see him retire.

On Saturday Mr Batten was at his last official function for the town when the Christmas lights were switched on.

Mayor Penny Vinnicombe took the opportunity to present him with a town plaque.

Mr Batten is due to retire at the end of the year and when he goes he will be the last chief inspector posted to Falmouth and Penryn.

His place is being taken by Inspector Peter Whetter.

Good news for golfers as range gets the nod

FALMOUTH Golf Club members will be able to practise whacking their little white balls from under cover after Carrick Council's decision to allow the proposed driving range to be built.

A viewing panel of councillors gave a unanimous 'yes' to the plans at last week's site meeting after reassurance that only 'bona fide' golfers would be using the range and that extra parking would be available if need be.

The timber-walled building will be 95 feet long and 12 feet high and will include video tutorial features.

It will have a cement floor and a sloping grey asbestos fibre roof.

The range itself will use three fields running south-east of the existing club car park.