Even fairy tale princes — the kind that slay dragons and rescue princesses — seem to be falling behind Prince William. The prince, known as Flight Lt. William Wales in Britain's Royal Air Force, participated Sunday in the rescue of Russian sailors whose cargo ship sank in the Irish Sea, CBS News reports.

The Duke of Cambridge, 29, co-piloted a helicopter that saved two crew members from drowning after a storm caused their vessel's hull to crack off the coast of north Wales. Following the mission, the rescued men were airlifted to William's RAF Valley base on the Welsh island of Anglesey.

The U.K.'s Russian ambassador, Alexander Yavovenko, publicly thanked William for lending a hand. "All day long we were anxiously following the rescue operation searching for Russian seamen from the sunk Swanland vessel," Yavovenko said in an open letter. "We know that you took an active part in the rescue and the two seamen were saved thanks to your selfless effort under the bad weather conditions. Let me express to you and your colleagues my deepest gratitude for saving the lives of the Russian citizens."

The Cook Islands-registered Swanland cargo ship, which had eight people on board and was carrying thousands of tons of limestone, sent a mayday call on Sunday. Unfortunately, not every one was saved — and still more are being searched for. One body was recovered from the sea, Holyhead Coastguard reported, but that the fate of the other five crew members was not yet known.