William saved my life, says walker
Prince William was involved in a helicopter rescue mission on Mount Snowdon just 48 hours after announcing his engagement to Kate Middleton, it has been revealed.
The search and rescue pilot was part of a four-man crew on board an RAF Sea King which was scrambled to help walker Greg Watkins who was stuck 3,000ft (914m) up the mountain in stormy conditions.
The 28-year-old Prince, who is based at RAF Valley in North Wales, was called into action at 1.30pm on Thursday after the father-of-two collapsed with chest pains.
He was winched on board the helicopter before being taken to hospital in Bangor to be treated for a suspected heart attack.
Mr Watkins, who is recovering after an operation, said the actions of Flight Lieutenant Wales and his crew had saved his life.
He told the Sunday Mirror: "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."
For the last six months, William and his fiancee have lived together in a rented cottage on Anglesey, close to the RAF base, among a close-knit community of service personnel and islanders.
The rescue mission was launched just five hours after the Prince returned to the base following his engagement.
Mr Watkins, a gym worker, of Ebbw Vale, South Wales, had been walking in the hills with six friends. "I didn't know much about what was happening at the time," he said. "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'."
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "Flight Lieutenant Wales was called out, as part of a four-man RAF search and rescue crew, to assist a man suffering from chest pains on Snowdon. The man was subsequently flown to a local hospital for treatment."