Hartlepool RNLI volunteers will be raising a glass in memory of the events of the evening of 28 February 1993 when Hartlepool RNLI’s 44 foot Waveney Class lifeboat ‘The Scout’ capsized.
Members of Hartlepool RNLI current volunteer crew and members of The Scout’s crew will gather in the lifeboat station today (Thursday 28 February 2013) at 6.28pm to remember the events of 20 years ago and to say thanks for the safe return of the crew of ‘The Scout.’
The 97,000 ton oil tanker Freja Svea had run aground in heavy seas and strong winds off the coast of Redcar on 28 February 1993. The Scout, with a crew of 8 was standing by the tanker as the crew were being air lifted to safety’.
Volunteer crewmember, Robbie Maiden (aged 25 at the time), said: ‘After a couple of hours the weather was so bad that the helicopter had to land on Redcar beach and we were told to stand by in case we were needed for other duties.
I was standing behind the wheelhouse and out of nowhere came this dirty great wave topping 45 to 50 feet. The foam and spray hit me first and I hung onto the railing, but with the pressure of the water I went out of the boat.’
The Scout’s Coxwain, Eric Reeve, who escaped with just a bruised leg and cut finger, takes up the story ‘We took the wave on the starboard quarter and rolled over. I’d just started to see light again when she went over again. We had a crew check and we were one adrift.’
The force of the water had cut off the lifeboat’s communications and after several minutes the nearby helicopter was contacted by handset.
Robbie Maiden was left gasping for breath in 30 foot freezing seas over a mile from land for over 35 minutes and in a force nine gale and driving snow. Robbie was eventually rescued by the Sea King helicopter and taken to Middlesbrough General Hospital where he was treated for cracked ribs, cuts and bruises and hypothermia. Robbie was allowed home after a few hours when medics brought his body temperature back to normal. Four other lifeboatmen suffered minor injuries.
Coxwain Eric Reeve said ‘It takes an awful lot to turn one of those things over and it’s the first time a lifeboat of this class has ever been knocked over. The boat has been badly damaged everything on the top of the wheelhouse has been taken off.
All the lads did their jobs automatically. There was no panic. Everyone did what they had to do, and we didn’t pay the ultimate price – no-one lost their life.’
Robbie Maiden, now Coxwain of Hartlepool RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat Betty Huntbatch said It’s amazing how quickly time flies, it doesn’t feel like 20 years. An incident like this helps build camaraderie among the crew especially on horrible nights like that. Remembering the event will help the younger volunteer crewmembers learn and builds respect and camaraderie between us which is so important.’
Notes to editors
Picture Caption –
1 Hartlepool RNLI’s 44 foot Waverney Class lifeboat ‘The Scout’
2 Hartlepool RNLI volunteer crewmembers of The Scout.- back row left to right. Peter Lamb, Ian Maiden, Richie Doughty, Ian Gilbraith, Tommy Price. Front row Eric Reeve (Coxwain), Robbie Maiden. Not in picture Gary Jamieson
3 NOW crewmembers Tommy Price (DLA) & Robbie Maiden (Coxwain).
• Hartlepool lifeboat station has been operating since 1803. To learn more about the lifeboat station go to www.rnli.org/hartlepool