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Newhaven lifeboat launches to Mayday from injured sailor drifting towards rocks

Lifeboats News Release

Newhaven’s Severn Class lifeboat 'David and Elizabeth Acland' and her volunteer crew were launched on Saturday 16 June after a Mayday call was received from a single handed sailor in a 30 foot sailing boat.

The casualty had departed Eastbourne for Brighton, but during the voyage had received a suspected head injury and was unsure of his position.

Newhaven Lifeboat, Eastbourne Lifeboat and coastguard helicopter ‘Rescue 163’ from Lydd were requested to launch and locate the casualty vessel.

Newhaven’s lifeboat crew, who had earlier that afternoon been enjoying a family BBQ at the boathouse, were paged at 8.43pm and the boat launched at 8.50pm.

As soon as Newhaven lifeboat had left the harbour she hailed the casualty vessel on VHF channel 16 and used their direction finding equipment to locate the yacht. This was then confirmed by a radar contact and visual sighting.

The casualty was located at 9pm, 300meters from Splash Point and drifting towards the rocks under Seaford Head. Two lifeboat crew donned full protective clothing and helmets and prepared to board the vessel.

In a force 7 south-westerly wind, breaking waves and fading light, the lifeboat came alongside the casualty vessel. Due to the difficult conditions the two boats made contact several times with the lifeboat.

After several attempts a crew member successfully crossed to the casualty vessel. As a second crew member attempted to cross from the lifeboat to the casualty vessel, the two boats were separated by a large wave and the crew member went overboard.

The second coxswain immediately manoeuvred the lifeboat away from the vessel and repositioned the lifeboat to recover the crewmember in the water, preventing the crewmember from being trapped between the two boats and seriously injured.

The RNLI provides world class training for its crews to prepare them for every eventuality, including a man over board scenario and this training immediately came into effect.

The lifeboat maintained visual contact with the crew member in the water and prepared to recover him back on board. A line was thrown and he was successfully recovered from the water by crew members in approximately two minutes.

At 9.15pm coastguard helicopter Rescue 163 arrived on scene and winched a paramedic onto Newhaven Lifeboat, with Eastbourne Lifeboat arriving on scene at 9.30pm.

The crewmember on board the casualty vessel had assessed the casualty and steered back towards Newhaven harbour. Once the casualty vessel was in the lee of Newhaven harbour’s western breakwater Newhaven Lifeboat came back alongside the casualty vessel and the helicopter paramedic was able to board her.

The casualty was then transferred to Eastbourne Lifeboat where he was assessed by their own doctor and transported to Newhaven boathouse. He was then taken into the care of the ambulance service and taken to hospital in Brighton. The Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) helicopter was also on scene.

Newhaven lifeboat continued into the harbour and towed the casualty to a berth at 10.20pm.

Newhaven lifeboat was back alongside her own berth by 10.45pm and refuelled and ready for service again by 11.10pm.

Ends

Notes to editors

To follow Newhaven lifeboat services visit www.newhavenlifeboat.co.uk, Facebook, Twitter & You Tube for the latest pictures and video.

Newhaven has celebrated over 210 years as a lifeboat station, also being the oldest RNLI station in the UK. Newhaven operates an all-weather Seven Class lifeboat David and Elizabeth Acland

RNLI media contacts

  • James Johnson Newhaven RNLI Station Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer 07976 973018 james@picturebookfilms.co.uk
  • Newhaven Lifeboat Station at Newhaven@rnli.org.uk
  • Paul Dunt, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East) on (0207) 620 7426 or Paul_Dunt@rnli.org.uk
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

RNLI online: For more information on the RNLI please visit www.rnli.org.uk. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI Press Centre.


The yacht was drifting towards rocks after her skipper was injured

RNLI

The yacht was drifting towards rocks after her skipper was injured
Using equipment to discover the yacht's location

RNLI/Paul Dunt

Using equipment to discover the yacht's location
Preparing to go alongside the yacht

RNLI

Preparing to go alongside the yacht

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.

 

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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