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Praise for RNLI teamwork after two incidents near Porthcawl

Lifeboats News Release

Porthcawl RNLI lifeboat volunteers, RNLI lifeguards and other emergency services who responded to two incidents near Porthcawl this weekend have been praised for their effective teamwork.

Both incidents were along the Bridgend and Vale of Glamorgan coastline and involved the charity's lifeguard teams, Porthcawl RNLI volunteer crew, the Coastguard Search and Rescue helicopter and Coastguard land teams.

The first call was on Saturday afternoon (2 July) when RNLI lifeguards working on Llantwit Major Beach spotted a windsurfer in diifuclty about 600m offshore in strong cross-shore winds and large swell conditions.

The lifeguard team called for Coastguard assistance and Porthcawl RNLI's Atlantic 85 class inshore lifeboat was requested to launch. The lifeboat was on scene within 20 minutes and commenced a search of the area.

By this time the windsurfer had abandoned his sail and paddled his board in close to the cliffs about half-a-mile east of Llantwit major beach.

After searching for approximately 10 minutes in rough seas the casualty was located by the volunteer lifeboat crew near Stout Point. He had landed on the beach and was cut off by the tide.

Due to the sea conditions assistance was requested from the Coastguard Search and Rescue helicopter 187 and one of the lifeboat crew members swam ashore to reassure the casualty and make sure he was uninjured.

The helicopter landed on the beach to transfer the casualty, his equipment and the lifeboat crew member from the beach. The windsurfer was then transferred to the top of the cliffs unharmed.

The second incident was on Sunday (3 July), when two walkers became cut off to the western side of Southerndown beach.

RNLI lifeguards on duty on the beach realised the man and woman were in difficulty and called for assistance from the coastguard.

Senior liefguard Robbie Thompson paddled around to keep an eye on the two walkers and ensure their safety while the Coastguard requested the launch of both RNLI lifeboats from Porthcawl.

When the RNLI lifeboats arrived at the cliffs they found two adults on a narrow ledge, 15 feet above the water, below the cliffs.  They were in danger of being washed off the ledge, so an immediate request was put in for assistance from the Coastguard Search and Rescue helicopter to assist with winching them off the ledge.

Both were winched safely off the ledge, and were landed on the top of the cliff at Southerndown.

Neither the windsurfer or the two walkers needed further medical treatment.

Porthcawl RNLI Deputy Launching Authority Aileen Jones said: 'This was an excellent example of team working between the RNLI Lifeguards, RNLI lifeboats, Coastguard Search and rescue helicopter and the Coastguard cliff teams. 

'We all train hard together to respond to incidents like these, and the hours of training our volunteers put in every week has paid off.'

Notes to editors:

The attached pictures show:

- Porthcawl RNLI lifeboat and Coastguard Search and Rescue helicopter called to two walkers cut off at Southerndown beach. Credit RNLI/Porthcawl

- Porthcawl RNLI lifeboat this weekend. Credit RNLI/Porthcawl

For further information contact Carl Evans, RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer, Porthcawl RNLI, on 07919 227723 or Chris Cousens, RNLI Press Officer, Wales and West, on 07748 265496 or by email on chris_cousens@rnli.org.uk.

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, Carrybridge 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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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland