Ilfracombe was able to get a close look at the new search and rescue helicopter from St Athan on Saturday. The HM Coastguard Agusta Westland AW139 flew across the channel from South Wales to meet Ilfracombe RNLI volunteers at Larkstone. After a full tour of the new helicopter, it took to the skies for a winching exercise before heading joining both lifeboats for more training at sea. Inshore lifeboat helmsman Mark Weeks said it was great to meet and work alongside the new helicopter. They were able to comfortably reach Ilfracombe in under 15 minutes from their base in St Athan, which was very impressive, he said. There has naturally been a lot of anticipation leading up to the change over. After exercising with them for the first time, there is no doubt it is an extremely competent aircraft and a valuable SAR asset, which well look forward to working closely with in the future.