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Prince William involved in ship rescue

From Joseph Netto, CNN
updated 6:29 AM EST, Mon November 28, 2011
  • The British coast guard calls off a search for five missing sailors
  • Two rescued sailors are "in reasonable condition;" a third is in unknown condition
  • The ship capsized in gale-force winds
  • Prince William was co-pilot of a rescue helicopter

(CNN) -- Two sailors from a ship that capsized in the Irish Sea in gale-forced winds were rescued "in reasonable condition" Sunday while five remained missing, the British coast guard said.

The body of an eighth sailor was recovered, the coast guard said.

After a daylong search in rough seas, the British coast guard ended the effort to find the five missing men as darkness fell, according to a coast guard press officer.

"Today at roughly 16:45 GMT (11:45 a.m. ET), a decision was made by the coast guard to call off the search and rescue mission for the five remaining missing sailors in the Irish Sea," press officer Jo Groenenberg told CNN.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman earlier confirmed to CNN that Prince William was the co-pilot of the helicopter that plucked the two rescued sailors from a life raft.

The crew of the Swanland sent out a mayday call about 2 a.m. local time, saying the ship was caught in strong winds and had a cracked hull, the coast guard's press office said.

A few ships responded, but the Swanland had capsized by the time they got there, the office said.

The coast guard dispatched two helicopters, including one from RAF Valley base, where Prince William is a search-and-rescue pilot. The helicopter pulled two men from the water.

A coast guard spokesman later said the two -- who included the ship's second officer -- were in "reasonable condition" after the helicopter had carried them to the military base.

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