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Cowes lifeboat launched after serious head injury incident

Lifeboats News Release

Cowes RNLI lifeboat was launched after a yachtsman received serious head injuries while the crew were practising in the Solent for tomorrow’s Round the Island Race.

 The incident occurred just outside Cowes Harbour when the eight person Farnham-based crew of the 40 foot Sunsail ocean racer No 4014 were carrying out gybe exercises in the brisk south-westerly wind.


It appears that the man, in his 30s, was violently thrown on to a winch handle by a taut rope. As he lay unconscious and profusely bleeding it was then found that the yacht could not proceed to shore under its own power because a rope had fouled the propeller.


Following a May Day call to Solent Coastguards the coastguard helicopter was launched as a precaution. However, the yacht was successfully taken in tow by a passing rib skippered by Robbie Southwell, son of operations manager of Cowes lifeboat, Mark.


As the yacht was being towed to Trinity Landing, Cowes, the lifeboat whose crew had been on stand-by, was launched and proceeded to the landing. There one of the lifeboat crew members, Dr Will King, went aboard to give medical assistance. The man was eventually taken by ambulance to St Mary’s Hospital, Newport.


The lifeboat, which launched at 4.36 pm, returned to station at 5.25 pm.


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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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland