48hrs after engagement announcement, Wills pulls off dramatic rescue

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London, Nov 21 (ANI): Just 48 hours after announcing his engagement to Kate Middleton, Prince William was involved in a helicopter rescue mission on Mount Snowdon in North Wales.

The Prince co-piloted an RAF Sea King, which was scrambled to help Greg Watkins who was stuck 3,000ft (914m) up the mountain in stormy conditions, reports the Mirror.

The 28-year-old search and rescue pilot was called into action at 1.30 p.m. on Thursday after the father-of-two suffered a heart attack.

The alert came just five hours after he returned to his duties at RAF Valley following his engagement.

In a daring manoeuvre, William used a small break in the thick fog to guide his chopper - buffeted by ferocious crosswinds - to the scene before winching down a crewman.

He saved vital minutes by exploiting a momentary break in the appalling -weather to get close enough for Watkins to be winched off the mountain - the highest in England and Wales at 3,650ft - and fly him to hospital in nearby Bangor.

Watkins, who is recovering after an operation, said the actions of the Prince and his crew had saved his life.

"If it wasn't for him and the rest of his crew, I'd be dead. Hearing his helicopter getting nearer and nearer was the best sound I've ever heard. He and his crew saved my life, he said.

"I didn't know much about what was happening at the time," said Watkins, a gym worker, of Ebbw Vale, South Wales, had been walking in the hills with six friends.

"I didn't know Prince William was flying the helicopter until we landed at the hospital. Even then, I felt too unwell for it to register much. The winchman helped me out and on to a stretcher and whispered 'Prince William's just flown you here'. I looked up at him and just said 'Oh. Tell him thank you'," he added.

"It didn't really sink in until I woke up after my operation. Now I think it's amazing. Being winched off a mountain by an RAF helicopter was the last thing I thought was going to happen to me. But for it to be flown by Prince William is unbelievable," said Watkins.

"I'd only been watching him announce the engagement on TV with Kate a few hours earlier - it was his first mission since going back to work. I feel lucky to be alive but even luckier to have been rescued by the future King of England. I want to tell him how grateful I am to him and the rest of his crew," he added.

"It was a very satisfying outcome to a mission that wasn't easy because of the terrible weather. Exploiting a break in the fog in the way they did was a very good call and the manoeuvre was carried out -perfectly. The whole crew is pleased to hear that the casualty is doing well," said an RAF spokesman. (ANI)

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