Rescuers in winch drama

FOUR Belgian fishermen were rescued from a lifecraft by a Royal Navy helicopter crew from RNAS Culdrose on Tuesday.

The fishermen, Daniel Vermott, 54, his sons, Jackie and Stephan and a friend, Edwin Eneman, were on board the Belgian trawler, Le Boche, which reported it was taking in water 40 miles north of St Ives.

The duty search and rescue Sea King helicopter., piloted by Lt. Brian Nicholas, was scrambled after the alrm was raised by the Falmouth coastguard, but by the time it arrived on the scene the trawler had sunk.

Red flares were fired by the fishermen from the lifecraft and the helicopter diver, Petty Officer Phil Warrington was lowered down to them so that they could be winched up into the aircraft.

The last two men were winched up together because of fears that if just one person was left in the liferaft, the gale force wind wand heavy sea might well tip it over.

As the men were being brought up the tremendous sea conditions caused the winch wire to catch on the plate on the aircraft. The winch bent the plate and caused the winch to drop three feet.

P.O. Warrington said: "My initial thought was that the winch was going to part company. There was a stressed motor on the winch and it packed up for a while. eventually the two guys – Observer Lieut Guy Norris and Leading Aircrewman Rob McKee – helped to pull the winch up."

The four men were flown to Treliske Hospital, Truro for treatment and a check-up.

Hat-trick of accolades for Helston company

A Helston family firm has secured a hat-trick of accolades.

For the third time in just over a year, the staff at Helston Garages' Meneage Street base are celebrating a Best-in-Britain vote for customer satisfaction.

For the final quarter of 1994, and again in the second quarter of last year, the firm was voted top Audi dealer out of 90 rural dealers in the UK. Now it has received news of a similar success for its other franchise, Volkswagen. For the period August-November, 1995, it was voted best customer satisfaction out of 89 British Volkswagen dealers in the small town category.

Helston Garages top-scored with 91.11 per cent in the combined purchasing and servicing experience as recorded by more than 100 customers who took part in an in-depth survey.

"This is an absolutely tremendous achievement and we have told all out staff that it is something of which they can feel immensely proud," said general manager Alec Evans.