‘Hero’ Notts firefighter due to fly home from Sicily today

A Nottinghamshire firefighter who was stranded on a rescue boat near Sicily for nearly two weeks is hoping to fly home later today, February 1.

By Andrew Topping
Friday, 1st February 2019, 3:32 pm
Updated Friday, 1st February 2019, 3:33 pm

Brendan Woodhouse, from near Matlock, works at Highfields Fire Station and is one of four British people on board the Sea-Watch Three boat that rescued 47 people from an inflatable dinghy in the Mediterranean Sea last month.

The boat was then prevented from docking when Italian authorities accused the crew of “assisting illegal migration”.

The migrants were allowed off the ship on Thursday after six European countries agreed to take them in, and Brendan said he has does not regret what they did.

Brendan Woodhouse. Picture posted on Sea-Watch 3 Facebook page.

The dad-of-two told BBC Radio Derby: “I’ve done nothing wrong and don’t think there’s anything for me to worry about.

“There’s certainly nothing morally wrong with that.”

The 42-year-old described “absolutely horrendous” conditions on the boat, with migrants suffering from PTSD, having nightmares and “crying themselves to sleep”.

Posting on the Sea Watch Three Facebook page, he added: “I’ve spent hours talking to them about their experiences, and I’m staggered by their humanity, by their struggle.

“But despite everything that they have faced, they breathe empathy with one another.

“They are kind and gentle to each other. They are supportive of us as a crew and feel a sense of mutual responsibility for all of us on the ship.

“I am awestruck by their resolve.”