Medal for St Abbs volunteer
A volunteer lifeboat crew member from St Abbs is to receive the RNLI’s Bronze Medal for Gallantry after he swam 20m into a sea cave in rough conditions and rescued an injured angler.
Helm Darren Crowe (pictured), a 39-year-old fisherman, launched the St Abbs inshore lifeboat along with his brother and uncle after the angler, Simon Halston, was swept off a rock and into the cave.
Darren managed to swim into the cave and get Simon onto his back. Then Darren inflated his lifejacket and he and Simon were towed back out by a line attached to the lifeboat. Darren’s uncle, Alistair Crowe, and brother, James Crowe, pulled the pair aboard.
Simon was taken to hospital and later said: ‘If the RNLI had not been there I would have died that day. I just cannot thank them enough.’
Darren will be presented with the Bronze Medal in recognition of his courage and skill that day. Alistair and James are to receive a Framed Letter of Thanks signed by the RNLI Chairman.
David Wilson, a lifeboat crew member who was aboard a fishing vessel when he spotted Simon's fall and alerted the Coastguard, will receive a Letter of Appreciation signed by the RNLI’s Chief Executive.
There can be few scarier things than being swept off your own boat by mountainous seas.
Dan Oliver was fortunate to have been wearing both a lifejacket and safety line when a large wave washed him from the deck of his 10m yacht, battling 35–40-knot winds and 4m waves en route to Brighton Marina on 26 May.
The crew had been lowering the sails when they saw the skipper disappear into the water. They were unable to retrieve him in such savage conditions, so they broadcast a Mayday distress call.
Within 7 minutes, Brighton’s B class lifeboat Thelma Glossop had launched and a further 10 minutes brought them into close proximity to the yacht.
Just 3 minutes later, a volunteer crew member had been transferred to the yacht and the skipper was safely lifted back onboard. With the situation now under control, the lifeboat escorted the yacht through the marina entrance and into a visitor’s berth.
Given the horrendous conditions, RNLI Newhaven’s Severn class lifeboat David and Elizabeth Acland (pictured), the Solent Coastguard helicopter and multiple mobile Coastguard rescue units were also called to assist.
A spokesman for RNLI Brighton praised the crew of the yacht: ‘During this extremely stressful incident in hostile conditions, they managed to remain calm throughout.
‘This incident highlights dramatically the importance of wearing a lifejacket and safety
line when working on the deck of a yacht in these conditions.’
After 11 hours at sea, struggling to make headway in gale force winds, the skipper of the yacht Doxy called Solent Coastguard to ask for help.
Hayling Island’s B class Atlantic 85 launched into the teeth of the gale but Helm Peter Hanscombe couldn’t steer a straight course due to the beam-on rolling waves. With ‘waves like blocks of flats’ coming at them, an unusually large wave, estimated at 8–9m, lifted them vertically. As they came back down, the stern was buried in a foaming mass. The crew heard the piecing klaxon of the man-overboard alarm and for one brief second thought the worst. Thankfully, Crew Member Jasper Graham-Jones was still on the fourth crew seat.
The violent movement had reduced the engines’ power, so Peter had to work the throttles to restore full power quickly.
The Atlantic then came alongside the yacht. The two casualties were cold, tired and a little frightened, drained by the yacht's relentless pitching and rolling.
They towed the yacht towards Gosport Marina, but with winds at gale force, they requested that Bembridge all-weather Tyne class lifeboat assist them.
The crews worked quickly and confidently and although progress, at 4 knots, was slow, Bembridge towed them to Portsmouth Harbour and Hayling Island then escorted the yacht to Gosport Marina. The casualties were very grateful to see Hayling lifeboat and eventually dry land.