The top of the television news for a full cycle in the U.K. this weekend was, unusually, a story about the helicopter rescue of two sailors washed overboard when their ship sank in the Irish Sea. Despite the undeniable newsworthiness of this tragic event (of the other six Russian crewmen, one is confirmed and five are presumed dead) and the fact that dramatic night-vision footage of a man suspended from a chopper by a rope grabbing two mariners from an inflatable raft was provided to news organisations, a casual observer might have been rather surprised at the attention paid to this particular shipwreck.
Commercial-shipping accidents happen in British waters all the time, and they don’t usually make much more than a ripple on the media lake, especially when it is a foreign crew that is lost, but this one seems a shoo-in for Monday’s front pages.
This rescue was different, because this was a rescue by royal appointment. For, at the controls of the helicopter, coolly piloting his craft above the foaming waters, was none other than Flight Lieutenant William Wales, better known as the Duke of Cambridge, even better known as Prince William. Only The Irish Times has been able to resist mentioning the involvement of the British royal family.
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