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Great Yarmouth and Gorleston with Lowestoft RNLI Lifeboats search for diver

Lifeboats News Release

A scuba diver who went missing after diving on a wreck off the Great Yarmouth coast triggered a search involving three lifeboats and two helicopters.

Library Image of Great Yarmouth & Gorleston Lifeboat 'Samarbeta'

RNLI/Mick Howes

Library Image of Great Yarmouth & Gorleston Lifeboat 'Samarbeta'

The Great Yarmouth & Gorleston RNLI all weather lifeboat ‘Samarbeta’ was launched to begin the search just after 6pm on Monday 28th August 2017 followed shortly after by Lowestoft relief lifeboat ‘Reg’ at 6.24pm. They were later joined by Caister Independent lifeboat and two Coastguard rescue helicopters from Lydd and Humberside.

In calm weather and with good visibility as daylight faded the search crews covered the area around the wreck site in a methodical way – then as night set in searchlights were used to continue to search the area 15 miles east of Great Yarmouth.

Gorleston’s ALB returned to station to change crew and refuel with Caister lifeboat also doing the same slightly later. Lowestoft’s crew was changed on scene so they could remain searching whilst the other two assets temporarily stood down. Once the operation to crew change and refuel was complete, Gorleston, Lowestoft and Caister continued their search for a total duration of fourteen and a half hours - until UK Coastguard suspended the search.

A spokesman for UK Coastguard confirmed they called off their search at 7.30am on Tuesday (29th August) after the overnight air and sea search had failed to find the missing man. The diving vessel from Lowestoft remained in the area and the coastguard continued putting out mayday calls to other ships in the area.

A statement from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency stated 'Following a 14 hour extensive search, for a missing diver, overnight and into this morning by Coastguard helicopters from Lydd and Humberside, RNLI Lifeboats from Gorleston and Lowestoft, Caister Independent Lifeboat and a number of commercial vessels. HM Coastguard have now suspended the search pending further information. All vessels passing through the area will continue to be asked to assist throughout today and broadcast action will continue. Formal searches may be resumed upon the receipt of any new information'.

The crew’s thoughts are with the diver’s family.

RNLI media contacts

  • Mick Howes Lowestoft RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer Tel 07814 468917 /
  • Kimberley Platford, RNLI Gorleston & Great Yarmouth Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer
    Tel 07907360588, email -
  • Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East)
    0207 6207426 / 07785 296252 /
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789
Library Image of Lowestoft Relief Lifeboat 'Reg'

RNLI/Mick Howes

Library Image of Lowestoft Relief Lifeboat 'Reg'
A coastguard helicopter searching for the missing diver over a tranquil sea

RNLI/Kimberley Platford

A coastguard helicopter searching for the missing diver over a tranquil sea

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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