November 22, 2010 01:15 PM

Prince William has been getting a lot of attention since proposing to Kate Middleton, but the royal grabbed a different kind of spotlight when he was hailed a hero for his role in sweeping a stricken hiker off a mountainside last week.

William, 28, piloted an RAF Sea King helicopter that was called to help Greg Watkins, who was suffering from chest pains in North Wales on the afternoon of Nov. 18.

The royal was part of a four-member crew that flew through a storm 3,000 feet over the magnificent mountain of Snowdon, North Wales, to reach Watkins. The Sunday Mirror reports that Prince William maneuvered through a break in the weather to guide the 72-foot helicopter to a position that enabled the crew to reach Watkins, 45, who was airlifted to safety and taken to a hospital.

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“I didn’t know much about what was happening at the time. The winchman helped me out and onto a stretcher and whispered, ‘Prince William’s just flown you here,’ Watkins, a gym worker from Ebbw Vale in South Wales, told the paper. It didn’t really sink in until I woke up after my operation. Now I think it’s amazing.”

“If it wasn’t for him and the rest of his crew, I’d be dead. Hearing his helicopter getting nearer and nearer was the best sound that I’ve ever heard. They saved my life,” Watkins added. “He’d probably say he was just doing his job, but to me he and his crew are heroes.”

The prince spent the weekend at a bachelor party with friends, taking in a Premier League soccer match at Blackpool and enjoying the pleasures of the fairgrounds along the seafront.

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