Page last updated at 17:29 GMT, Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Sailors fall off exercise frigate

HMS Somerset. Pic: Royal Navy
The frigate was on a routine exercise, the navy said

Two Royal Navy sailors have been taken to hospital after falling overboard from a frigate during a training exercise, the Ministry of Defence says.

The two ratings fell from HMS Somerset during a routine exercise about 15 miles (24km) off Plymouth, Devon.

The MoD said both were rescued within 15 minutes of the incident on Monday. One needed resuscitation before both were taken to Derriford Hospital.

One was discharged later in the day. The second is still in hospital.

Inquiry begun

The MoD said: "It can be confirmed that two Royal Navy ratings from HMS Somerset were involved in a man overboard incident."

It added: "An inquiry is now under way. We need to know what happened and why these two fell overboard."

Brixham Coastguard confirmed the station picked up the "man overboard" emergency call on a digital distress frequency at 1119 GMT on Monday.

A coastguard said: "We were told two people were in the water, but they were rescued before the Salcombe and Plymouth lifeboats were launched. Both vessels then stood down."

A sea rescue helicopter from HMS Culdrose landed on the warship and flew the pair to Plymouth Airport. They were then taken to the nearby hospital.

The 4,900-tonne Type 23 frigate has a crew of 185 and is based at the city's Devonport naval base.

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