Posted on 04.01.2006 - 13:28 EST in GENERAL NEWS by Rons_ROV_Links
The Scots-based rescue team who freed seven men from a trapped submarine have been saved from the axe.
Members of the Rumic UK rescue team - dubbed the Thunderbirds - were honoured by Russian president Vladimir Putin after their daring mission.
The Renfrew-based crew saved the lives of Russian sailors who were facing a watery grave after the stricken Pritz was caught on fishing nets in the Pacific Ocean.
However, the team were left facing an uncertain future.
But they will now be able to work together for at least another two years after Rumic secured an £8million contract extension.
The news means the eight-strong crew will continue to be on standby to answer calls for help in any part of the world.
Yesterday, Renfrewshire Provost Ronnie Burns, who hosted a civic reception for the squad earlier this year, welcomed the news.
He added: "I am delighted to hear they have won a contract to keep up their wonderful work. They are a great bunch of guys and we are very proud of them."
Russian president Vladimir Putin honoured the British rescuers at an awards ceremony held in 10 Downing Street.
Two Scots were among those who received the first Russian medals to be given to foreign military staff.
The Order for Maritime Services went to Royal Navy team leader Commander Ian Riches, of Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire, as well as Stuart Gold, from Edinburgh, and his rescue craft co-pilot Peter Nuttall.
Squadron Leader Keith Hewitt, who transported the Scorpio robot rescue craft from Prestwick to Russia's Pacific coast in August, and Captain Jonathan Holloway, British naval attache in Moscow, received the Order of Friendship.
In a tense drama which gripped the world, the team used their remote-controlled vehicle to free the AS28 mini sub.
The seven men aboard had only six hours of oxygen left after lying on the ocean bed for three days.
December 30, 2005
The Daily Record