The Submarine Parachute Assistance Group (SPAG) caught up in the most recent Spanish incursion into Gibraltar's waters is an elite rescue team always on call to help submariners
The Royal Navy’s Submarine Parachute Assistance Group (SPAG) is a specialist emergency rescue team on constant standby to travel to stricken submarines.
The highly-trained group was formed in the 1960s when Naval commanders decided they needed to be able to get experts to the site of a submarine emergency as quickly as possible.
Made up of a mix of medics, engineers and submarine escape specialists taken from all Services, the team is on six hours notice to take-off all year round. At RAF Brize Norton a C-130 Hercules transport plane is on standby to ferry them to the scene.
Team members are parachute trained so that they can leap into the water at the scene if needed. They carry inflatable boats and life rafts, medical equipment and communications gear which allows them to talk to crews in submarines.
Once on the scene they provide specialist escape and engineering advice to crewmembers or other rescuers and treat the injured as they are brought to the surface.