Rescue Roundup 7 May 2019
Both Ilfracombe lifeboats launched on Saturday 4 May after a group of ten kayakers got into difficulty in the waters off Combe Martin. With many capsized and stranded in the cold water, the alarm was raised and a Mayday call went out to the Coastguard. Ilfracombe’s Shannon class The Barry and Peggy High Foundation and D class The Deborah Brown II launched just after 5pm and quickly made their way to the scene.
Two of the kayakers in distress were picked up by a local vessel, the Lundy Explorer, that had answered the call for help. Another casualty was found in the water clinging on to a kayak. One of the all-weather lifeboat crew entered the water to swim towards them, helping to reassure the casualty as the lifeboat manoeuvred into a position to rescue.
Another kayaker was spotted lying on their back on the kayak being buffeted by large waves. Again, the all-weather lifeboat moved into position and a crew member entered the water to assist the rescue.
Meanwhile, the D class lifeboat went to the assistance of another kayaker who was struggling in the waves and strong current. The kayaker was brought onboard by the lifeboat crew and transferred to Combe Martin beach. Five other kayakers made it to shore without assistance.
‘When the lifeboat arrived on scene we could see a group of about ten kayakers struggling in the large waves and strong winds,’ says Andrew Benjey, Coxswain of Ilfracombe’s lifeboat. ‘Apparently a couple of people got into difficulties and other kayakers came over to help and then got into difficulty themselves. The sea conditions were very rough and we would urge people to check the weather before setting out to sea on kayaks or other craft.’
A boat that had run aground at the mouth of the Scarriff River was rescued by Lough Derg lifeboat crew on Sunday 5 May. The inshore lifeboat crew launched just after 4.45pm and quickly made their way to the stranded vessel. After checking on the two passengers on the yacht and ensuring that the hull was still intact, they set up a tow and pulled the vessel off the rocks and into safe water.
Both Minehead lifeboats launched on Sunday to rescue a hang glider who had plummeted 600 feet into the Bristol Channel. The incident had been spotted by two people from the shore who raised the alarm before quickly running to drag the injured man from the water.
The lifeboat crews launched and arrived on scene to find the casualty semi-conscious with head, chest and shoulder injuries. The crew cut the man out of his harness and kept him stable until an air ambulance arrived to transport him to a hospital in Exeter.
The incident could have been much worse had the casualty not been spotted falling into the water. Minehead RNLI operations manager Dr John Higgie says: ‘Had he come down half a mile or more to the west the chances are no-one would have seen him and we should have been looking at a very different outcome.’
Two capsized kayakers were rescued by Clacton lifeboat crews on Saturday 4 May. The alarm was raised just before 10am, and both of Clacton’s inshore lifeboats quickly launched. The kayakers were last spotted near a local wind farm and as the D class Arthur Hamilton arrived on scene, they spotted someone in the water waving their oar for help. The lifeboat quickly moved alongside to pull the casualty onboard, who was very concerned about their fellow kayaker.
The B class David Porter MPS arrived on scene at this time and was quickly directed towards the second casualty. They quickly found the other kayaker who had managed to climb back onto his kayak. Both kayakers were suffering from the effects of the cold sea and were quickly taken back to the lifeboat station where more lifeboat volunteers, who were also off-duty ambulance staff, treated the casualties until an ambulance arrived.
‘We are glad we could help these two kayakers today and feel that their lives have been saved due to our ability to make a quick response, and that they managed to request help using a mobile phone,’ says Adrian Rose, Helm. ‘Due to their position they were unlikely to have been seen from the shore, and the wind today was pushing them further out to sea.’
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