Belfast Telegraph

Simon Le Bon praises rescue crew who saved him in 1985 capsizing of yacht

Duran Duran star Simon Le Bon at Portscatho, Cornwall, after being rescued from his maxi yacht, Drum, in 1985
Duran Duran star Simon Le Bon at Portscatho, Cornwall, after being rescued from his maxi yacht, Drum, in 1985
Simon Le Bon in Falmouth in 1985, still in sailing clothes following his capsizing ordeal

Simon Le Bon has paid a heartfelt tribute to the helicopter rescue crew who saved him from "the eyes of death".

The Duran Duran singer was winched to safety after his yacht Drum capsized off the Falmouth coast in the 1985 Fastnet Race.

The keel fell off, which caused the boat to roll and trapped Le Bon under the hull.

His yacht flooded with water, and a mix of diesel fumes and battery acid was poisoning him and his crew.

The 57-year-old was in an air pocket inside the boat for an hour.

"It was the moment when I looked into the eyes of death. It was the most dangerous situation I've been in," he said during BBC One documentary, Rescue 193.

The Notorious singer spoke with emotion about the work of helicopter rescue crews after watching, for the first time, the film footage of his dramatic sea rescue.

"It was very frightening," he said. "It initiated in me a real feeling of warmth and support for the air sea rescue service."

He added: "I feel I owe them so much."

"I realise that these are guys who face extraordinary danger on a daily basis, who go out and put their lives at risk, to help ordinary people to live."

Rescue 193 will tell the story of the helicopter rescue service.

BBC reporter David George will take viewers behind the scenes as Cornwall's 771 Naval Air Squadron flies its final rescue missions.

The Royal Navy's Sea King search and rescue helicopters have patrolled the skies of Cornwall and the South West of England for more than 40 years.

They have saved countless lives and attended incidents including the tragic floods in Boscastle in 2004 and the offshore rescue of the crew from the MSC Napoli in 2007.

This month 771 Squadron has been decommissioned. Its duties have been passed to Bristow Helicopters, under the control of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

"I am grateful to 771 Squadron for saving my life, for saving the lives of the other guys on Drum," Le Bon stated during Rescue 193.

The award-winning singer originally commissioned Drum to take part in the 1985/1986 Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race.

Best known as a member of New Romantic group Duran Duran, the chart-topping 1980s pop band influenced a generation of musicians with their pioneering sound and music videos.

Alongside Hertfordshire-born Le Bon, the classic line-up of Duran Duran featured Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, Andy Taylor and Roger Taylor, who are all unrelated.

::Rescue 193 is broadcast on BBC One South West on March 21 at 7:30pm.


From Belfast Telegraph