SEARCH and rescue crews from 771 squadron at RNAS Culdrose experienced the Easter break as one of their busiest weekends so far this year.

The series of missions began on Friday when a crew conducting its routine daily flight was tasked to assist two people stuck on the cliffs at Portscatho, near St Austell.

The holidaymakers, who had scrambled down the cliff, but got into difficulty trying to return to the top, were recovered safely.

The helicopter was back in action later the same day after a climber fell on cliffs near Sennen Cove. The casualty was airlifted to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro.

Cliffs at Sennen were also the scene of another rescue mission the following afternoon, when a Culdrose crew went to help a climber who had fallen to the bottom of a 90ft cliff face.

The winchman, leading aircrewman Darren Hall, was lowered down to the casualty to assess his injuries and prepare him for transfer to the hovering helicopter.

What should have been a fairly straightforward operation was made more complicated by the fact that the climber, a visitor from the Czech Republic, spoke little English.

As luck would have it, the crew's observer, Lieutenant Tim Barker, speaks good Russian and was able to translate the necessary information.

The casualty, and his climbing partner, were both flown to hospital in Truro.

On Easter Sunday afternoon, the 771 helicopter was called to yet another incident at Sennen Cove.

When the aircrew arrived on scene, a man who had sustained a nasty head injury in a fall while walking among rocks on the beach was being treated by lifeguards and members of the Land's End cliff rescue team.

Due to the nature of his injuries, the casualty needed to be airlifted to hospital, and the helicopter landed on the beach at Sennen to recover him.

The crew was called out again on Sunday evening after a horse-rider fell on a remote bridleway near Godrevy.

The helicopter landed in a nearby field and the observer and aircrewman, Lieutenant Jon Hounsome and leading aircrewman Darren Jones, went on foot to prepare the injured rider for transfer to hospital.

Poor conditions underfoot meant the casualty had to be winched into the helicopter before being flown to hospital in Truro.

There was some respite for the crews on Easter Monday, which passed without incident.