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Four Hour search by Lowestoft and Gorleston RNLI for missing swimmer

Lifeboats News Release

Reports that a swimmer was missing off Lowestoft triggered a multi-agency response, with crews searching for four hours.

Lowestoft Lifeboat 'Patsy Knight'

RNLI/Mick Howes

Lowestoft Lifeboat 'Patsy Knight'

UK Coastguard received a call just before 1pm (Tuesday 5 September) that a man was in trouble in the sea off the South Beach. It is understood that an off-duty paramedic raised the alarm after seeing someone in the water who appeared to wave and then disappeared.

Three RNLI lifeboats, one from Lowestoft and two from Great Yarmouth and Gorleston were called out to help with the search and a volunteer critical care paramedic from Suffolk Accident Rescue Service (SARS) joined the Lowestoft crew to help with any potential casualty.

RNLI lifeguards from Lowestoft were quickly in the water using surf rescue boards to cover the immediate area inshore whilst coastguard rescue teams and Suffolk Police scoured the shoreline.

Lowestoft lifeboat coxswain John Fox said “There was a vicious strong ebb tide running towards the north so we began looking in that direction for anyone in distress.”

The three lifeboats were tasked to carry out a coordinated search pattern along the coast from Lowestoft to Gorleston and a UK Coastguard search and rescue helicopter later arrived to look from the air.

After the thorough search and with many miles of sea covered between Lowestoft and Gorleston the crews were stood down around 5pm as nothing has been found.

RNLI media contacts

  • Mick Howes, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, Lowestoft
  • 07814 468917 / lowestoftrnli@outlook.com
  • Kimberley Platford, RNLI Gorleston & Great Yarmouth Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer
    07907360588 / rnligorlestonpo@outlook.com
  • Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East)
    0207 6207426 / 07785 296252 / tim_ash@rnli.org.uk
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789
Great Yarmouth and Gorleston ILB 'Spirit of Clovelly'

RNLI/Mick Howes

Great Yarmouth and Gorleston ILB 'Spirit of Clovelly'
RNLI Lifeguards

RNLI/Mick Howes

RNLI Lifeguards
RNLI Lifeguards

RNLI/Mick Howes

RNLI Lifeguards
UK Coastguard SAR Helicopter

RNLI/Mick Howes

UK Coastguard SAR Helicopter
UK Coastguard SAR Helicopter

RNLI/Mick Howes

UK Coastguard SAR Helicopter

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 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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