Sunday, July 27, 2008

Prince's helicopter fires on 'drug boat'

PRINCE William was a lookout on a navy helicopter that opened fire on a speedboat used by suspected drug runners, the British military reportedly says.

On July 18 the Prince, who is serving with British frigate HMS Iron Duke in the Caribbean, helped keep track of the speedboat from a Lynx helicopter until marksmen shot out the vessel's engine, newsagency AP reports a spokesman as saying.

The helicopter chased the 9m boat about 175 km north of Venezuela's and Colombia's coastlines as it tried to avoid detection and ignored warning shots.

Royal Marine commandos used high-power, long-range rifles to takes out the boat's engine from the helicopter while the Prince played "a sort of lookout role'', according to the military spokesman.

The HMS Iron Duke, then arrived and three Colombians were arrested with traces of cocaine detected but no drugs found on board.

The speedboat was later sunk by the Iron Duke under the authority of the US Coast Guard team working aboard.

The three arrested men were handed to Colombian authorities.

It is the second time this month the Prince - or to give him his navy title Sub-Lieutenant Wales - has been played a publicly acknowledged role in the interception of suspected drug runners.

Prince William, who is doing training rotations in different branches of the UK military, helped in the capture of speedboat carrying 900kg of cocaine northeast of Barbados.
The Iron Duke is due to remain in the Caribbean until October.


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