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Lifeboat and helicopter in mid-Solent medical emergency

Lifeboats News Release

Cowes RNLI lifeboat and the Lee-on-Solent Coastguard helicopter were last afternoon Saturday called out to a yacht carrying a 43-year-old man who had suffered a debilitating seizure.

Showing crew members attending to sick yachtsman

RNLI/George Chastney

Two lifeboat members are involved in the initial mid-Solent assessment of the man.

The emergency occurred in the Solent, about one and half miles off Osborne Bay. The yachtsman, one of a number aboard 40-foot-yacht on charter from Port Solent, Portsmouth, had collapsed after suffering a fit, and was in a very weakened state in the cockpit.

The lifeboat helm, Mark Harker transferred Dr Will King and another crew member, Anne Simkin, to the yacht to assess the man’s condition. They were then joined by a paramedic who had been lowered from the helicopter, together with full medical kit.

Eventually it was decided the man, still in a collapsed state but conscious, should be taken by the yacht to Gunwharf Quay, Portsmouth, where he was transferred on a stretcher to an ambulance.

After escorting the yacht to Portsmouth, the now fully crewed lifeboat stopped briefly off Lee-on Solent for the paramedic to be winched back up into the helicopter.

The lifeboat, which had launched at 3.40 pm, had been off station for just over two hours. It was the first for-real shout for one of the four crew, Mark Crook, who had been undergoing training on the lifeboat earlier in that day.


Preparations are made aboard the yacht at Gunwharf Quay for the transfer to the ambulance.

Yacht at Gunwharf Quay.

RNLI/George Chastney

Preparations are made aboard the yacht at Gunwharf Quay for the transfer to the ambulance.

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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

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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

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