Talk of Hollywood film about Pisces III rescue drama brings back "chilling" memories for pensioner (From Basingstoke Gazette)
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Talk of Hollywood film about Pisces III rescue drama brings back "chilling" memories for pensioner
IT WAS an amazing rescue that could soon be made into a Hollywood film – and talk of the movie plans has brought memories flooding back for George Menarry.
George, who turned down the chance to work on the Pisces III submarine, has told of the “chill” that he felt when he heard two of its crew were trapped at the bottom of the ocean, 40 years ago.
The drama, which prompted an international rescue mission, could soon be made into a Hollywood film with talks ongoing and A-listers Jude Law and Ewan McGregor being linked to major roles.
In August 1973, the world was gripped by the attempts to rescue Roger Chapman and Roger Mallinson, who were trapped on the ocean floor in the 20-ft-long vessel, with just 80 hours of oxygen remaining.
Rescuers travelled from across the world and three submarines, several aircraft and many support ships all played a part in saving the two men, who were brought to the surface with just minutes of oxygen remaining.
Among those anxiously waiting for news during the four-day rescue was George, of Hollybush Lane, West Heath, who had spent seven weeks in 1971 working on Pisces III and turned down the chance to take on a permanent role on the submarine.
Recalling the drama, George, 71, said: “When I heard what had happened, I didn’t think they stood a chance. It really gave me a chill. If I had stayed on, who knows? It could have happened to anyone.
“In a way, I would have liked to have stayed on, but I had a young family at the time and, although the money was good, it would have meant spending too much time away from home.”
At the time, George, who is now a grandfather-of-four, was working for Vickers Medical, in Basingstoke, as a design engineer and was sent on a training exercise on the submarine to be trained as part of a back-up team.
He said: “I enjoyed the experience but we did have some hairy moments.
“At one point, we were trapped under a rock shelf and the batteries for the motor failed. We had to wait a couple of hours for the battery to recover.”
While working on the submarine, George took on a number of roles, including piloting the vessel and taking charge of communications.
Although he didn’t know the men trapped on the ocean floor, he was in contact with many of the crew involved with the two-man submarine and said he will take a great interest in the film.
He said: “I will definitely be watching it. It’s an amazing story and it will make a very interesting film.”
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