UK Royal Navy to kick start Olympic torch race

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LONDON (AP) -- Britain's Royal Navy will be the first to welcome the Olympic torch.

The force's search and rescue squadron will greet the flame when it arrives May 18 from Athens aboard a special British Airways plane.

Organizers said Saturday the flame will stay a night at a Royal Navy air base in Culdrose, Cornwall, before it is flown to Land's End -- the most westerly point in England -- in a search and rescue helicopter.

From there, the torch will begin its journey across the U.K. in a relay that involves 8,000 torchbearers traveling 8,000 miles.

The torch is to reach the Olympic Stadium in London on the eve of July 27.