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RNLI lifeguards rescue fisherman who jumped from burning boat

Lifeguards News Release

RNLI lifeguards in Bude rescued a fisherman from the water today (Thursday 10 August) after his boat caught fire.

Lifeguards at Summerleaze beach heard a mayday call from a local fishing boat located approximately two miles off Compass Point which reported a fire on board at around 11.45am.

RNLI lifeguard Dan Gow immediately launched the rescue water craft (RWC) and headed for the boat’s location. By the time he saw the boat it was fully alight and the one person on board had jumped overboard to get away from the flames.

Dan managed to locate the fisherman in the water and picked him up on the RWC before quickly moving away from the vicinity of the burning boat.

Off-duty RNLI senior lifeguard Mini Fry was fishing on a boat nearby and came to help at the scene. The lifeguards transported the casualty to his boat and made checks on him but thankfully he had suffered no injuries.

Dan said: ‘When I got there the boat was fully alight and I had no idea where the casualty was. Initially I didn’t know if he might still be on the vessel, I was thinking the worst. Luckily I spotted him in the water quite quickly as he was wearing a lifejacket and was able to get him to safety. The man was cold and shocked, but was unharmed.’

The inshore rescue boat from Widemouth launched to provide support for the lifeguards and Bude inshore lifeboat was also tasked to the scene. Padstow RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew also attended to mark the area where the boat sank.

The casualty was taken back to the harbour, where he was met by a Coastguard team and paramedics.

Ross Hambley, RNLI lifeguard supervisor, said: ‘Dan did a fantastic job today, thanks to his quick-thinking actions the fisherman was brought back to the shore safely. Luckily the casualty was able to make a mayday call and was wearing a lifejacket when he entered the water. All the emergency services worked really well together.’

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For further information, please contact either Chlӧe Smith, RNLI Press Officer, on 07920 818807 or email  Emma Haines, RNLI Public Relations Manager, on 07786 668847 or email

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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