Sailors from Exmouth help fight Ebola crisis
PUBLISHED: 08:52 05 December 2014 | UPDATED: 08:52 05 December 2014
Royal Navy sailors from Exmouth are helping to fight the Ebola crisis in West Africa.
RN Observer Lieutenant Robert Crewdson and Naval Air Engineer Petty Officer Paul Coombs, serving together with 820 Naval Air Squadron, are off Sierra Leone onboard the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship, RFA Argus.
Both of the servicemen were raised in Exmouth and attended Withycombe Raleigh Primary School, as well as Exmouth Community College, prior to joining the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air arm.
Their Merlin helicopter outfit is operating a three-helicopter detachment. Lt Robert is one of the aircrew flying the Merlin MK2 helicopter, while Paul maintains them.
The aircraft are flown every day, delivering medical supplies and aid to some of the most inaccessible regions of the country, as well as supporting Sierra Leone crisis management teams.
Some of their missions have taken the usually maritime-based aircraft vast distances inland, helping regional tribal leaders educate others on how to handle and care for Ebola patients, and minimising the risk of spreading infection.
Robert Crewdson said: “We’re really focused on delivering these education packages as this horrid disease is, unfortunately, spread by the touch of human kindness when family members care for their sick.
“To do this, we’ve been flying extended missions into the countryside to get people and supplies to the right places as quickly as possible and stop the spread of the virus.”
Paul Coombs said: “The fact we’re helping people defeat such an awful disease spurs us on. Morale is high; it’s good to feel that we are making a difference.”