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A Merlin helicopter from HMS Queen Elizabeth was scrambled to rendezvous with Bembridge RNLI Lifeboat on Thursday – but thankfully it was only a training exercise.

Volunteer lifeboat crewmen donned their waterproofs and launched down the slipway at Bembridge following a request by the Royal Navy to conduct training off the coast of the Isle of Wight.

A number of Mk 2 Merlin helicopters from 820 Naval Air Squadron based at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall are currently deployed on the Navy’s new aircraft carrier.

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It was from HMS Queen Elizabeth that one of the Merlins took off to conduct pre-deployment winch training with the Tamar Class Lifeboat.

Between 15-20 practice winches were carried out at sea.

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