Prince William came to the rescue of two stranded hikers in the Snowdonia region of North Wales earlier this week, after they were reported missing by a friend.
According to the Daily Mirror, Flight Lt. Wales, as he is known to the Royal Air Force, helped save the lives of a middle-age couple who found themselves stuck in the Glyder mountain range in freezing conditions at night and without any cellphone signal.
The couple, described as being in their 40s and 50s, had reportedly promised to call a friend that evening when their hiking excursion took a turn for the worst. After finding their way onto an especially icy patch of the mountain range, known as a favorite locale of hikers and rock climbers, the couple found that they lacked the proper gear to get out. Without any cell reception, they were unable to contact the friend and instead had to camp out for the night in a bivouac above a dangerous cleft called Devil’s Kitchen.
After missing their call, the friend contacted authorities, who then dispatched 10 Ogwen Valley mountain rescuers to search for the hikers. While the rescue team, accompanied by trained dogs, set out in search of the couple, authorities also called in Prince William from his military base in nearby Anglesey. Despite the dark and windy conditions, the prince flew out in a Royal Air Force Sea King helicopter after midnight and located the stranded duo, the Belfast Telgraph reported.
“The helicopter came about 1 a.m. to search the mountain, which was quite difficult with patches of low cloud,” a source told the Mirror. “Flying in the mountains at night with banks of low cloud requires great skill.”
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Prince William, whose younger brother, Prince Harry, also serves in the military as a helicopter pilot, passed his captaincy tests in May of 2012, according to Clarence House. He reportedly has more than two years of flying experience in such helicopters under his belt, having served as a military search-and-rescue pilot since 2010.
While Harry has served a much more dangerous kind of piloting role in the army -- flying Apache helicopters on the frontlines in Afghanistan and exposing himself to enemy fire -- he revealed in a recent interview that his older brother is envious of his military position.
Speaking of his recent deployment at Helmland Province in Afghanistan, where Harry was infamously targeted by al Qaeda, the younger prince confessed to suspecting some envy between his brother and him.
“I think there is a bit of jealousy, not just the fact that I get to fly this, but obviously he'd love to be out here,” Harry said. “'And to be honest with you, I don't see why he couldn't. ... His job out here would be flying the IRT [Immediate Response Team], or whatever, doing Chinook missions. Just the same as us -- no one knows who's in the cockpit.”
But on the other hand, Harry also revealed that he is jealous of some of his older brother’s perks.
“It's operational flying back home. You get all the luxuries of operational flying -- the pride, as you call it -- and the reward of basically saving people's lives, which is exactly what we try and do as well,” he said. “And back home, he gets to go home to his wife and dog, whereas out here we don't. We're stuck playing PlayStation in a tent full of men.”