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Bravery of RAF crew recognised.

Helicopter heroes from RAF Boulmer last night received another award for outstanding dedication and bravery, after saving the life of an oil-rig worker in hurricane-force winds.

Flight Lieutenant Andrew Shenton, 33, Flt Lt Andy Doyle, 32, and Flt Sgt Paul Mills, 39, all from Alnwick, and Flt Lt Dieter Booth, 35, from Swarland, were on Rescue 131 last December when it raced to an oil a rig support vessel 125 miles east of Aberdeen where a crew member needed emergency treatment.

As his life hung in the balance, the Sea King crew ( stationed with 202 Squadron at RAF Boulmer near Alnwick, Northumberland ( managed to land on the support vessel, despite winds in excess of 70mph and waves "as big as houses".

The stricken sailor was flown to Stavanger in Norway. He made a full recovery.

Last night the four rescue men were honoured at a ceremony in London, hosted by the Shipwrecked Mariners Society.

A spokesman for RAF Boulmer said: "To the crew it was just another day's work, but they're delighted with the recognition."

Last month another crew from the North-East station collected a top award from Prime Minister Tony Blair at Downing Street.

Lt Bill Sasser, Flt Sgt Al Hegerty, Flying Officer Andy Smith and Sgt Neil Finch received a Vodafone Life Savers Award for rescuing five sailors from a blazing freighter in 2001.

Their bravery was also recognised by the Queen, who awarded an Air Force Cross to Lt Sasser, a George Medal to Sgt Finch and Queen's Commendations for Bravery in the Air to FO Smith and Flt Sgt Hegerty.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 7, 2004
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