Tenby lifeboats rescue three people after getting washed off rocks by huge swell
The casualties had been forced to cut their call to the Coastguard short as their mobile phone battery was about to run out, so the Coastguard didn’t have an exact position for them.
The lifeboats were quickly on the water and the volunteer crew made best speed to towards Amroth to begin their search in pitch black conditions and with a large swell running into the rocks.
Despite the low battery, once the casualties spotted the lifeboat in the distance, they turned on their phone’s screen and began waving the phone towards the lifeboat. The volunteer crew on the inshore lifeboat immediately spotted the light and headed for it, closely followed by the all-weather lifeboat.
Once on scene, it was apparent to the lifeboat crew that this would be a difficult rescue due to the heavy swell crashing on the rocks, just feet from where the casualties were precariously perched, so Tenby and St Govans Coastguard Rescue teams were paged in case a rope rescue was required.
With the numerous underwater rocks making it impossible for the all-weather lifeboat to get anywhere near, the bigger vessel illuminated the rocks with floodlights, whilst the inshore lifeboat prepared their anchor to veer down into the rocks through the swell in an attempt to reach the casualties.
As the crew made attempts to get close enough to shore in very tricky conditions, a large wave hit the rocks, washing one of the casualties into the sea. As the casualty struggled in the heavy swell, the helmsman managed to get the lifeboat alongside her and the crew pulled her to safety. She was rushed to the all-weather lifeboat where the crew were waiting to assess and treat her.
On their return to check on the remaining two casualties, the inshore lifeboat crew could only watch as another wave hit the rocks and washed them into the surf. Again, the helmsman managed to get inside the surf line and the crew plucked them to safety, before dropping them aboard the all-weather lifeboat.
With everyone accounted for, the boats returned to station, where the casualties were further assessed and were delighted to be able to take warm showers.
Despite the ferocity of the surf that washed them off the rocks, the ladies were lucky to escape with only a few minor grazes. Once they were warmed up enough and had had a warm drink, they thanked the crew and then made their way home.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.