§ 27. Mr. P. Browne
asked the Secretary of State for Air how many bathers and yachtsmen, who have got themselves into difficulties off the coasts of Great Britain, have been rescued by the Royal Air Force in the past 12 months.
§ Mr. Browne
These are impressive figures. Is my right hon. Friend aware of the extreme value of this service, and may I, in particular, congratulate the helicopter base at Chivenor, which covers the western end of my constituency, on the work it does in this way? Will he assure the House that this type of air-sea rescue work of bathers who get into difficulties on our coasts will continue?
§ Mr. Amery
We will certainly do our best to continue it, although my hon. Friend will realise that the main purpose of the helicopter air-sea rescue service is to rescue aircrew, and it is only where they happen to be stationed in areas where bathers and others get into trouble that they are able to help them. The primary purpose of the service is a military one.
§ Mr. Kershaw
Do any of the seaside resorts which benefit greatly from visitors make any contribution to the cost of this service?
§ Mr. P. Williams
While I recognise the value of the service, may I ask my right hon. Friend what the rough cost of it is?
§ Mr. Milne
Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind the saving of life? It is not primarily a question of cost. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many of the lifeguard corps and the voluntary life-saving people on the coasts around Britain are very grateful indeed for the assistance they receive on occasions like this?