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RNLI lifeboats search for missing fisherman

Lifeboats News Release

Lifeboats from Eastbourne Newhaven and Shoreham along with coastguard rescue helicopters from Lydd and Gosport were involved in a fruitless search throughout Thursday afternoon and evening for a commercial fisherman lost overboard from his vessel.

The lifeboats were requested to launch at 12.46 pm by the rescue co-ordination centre at Dover Coastguard when the man was reported as falling overboard whilst attempting to free an obstruction around the boat’s propellers in a position approximately 30 nautical miles SSW of Eastbourne. Using computer generated models which calculate the effects of wind and tide the lifeboats, along with other commercial vessels which had arrived to help, conducted a comprehensive expanding search of the entire area. Tragically the man was not found.
 As darkness fell the search was abandoned and the rescue fleet returned to their respective bases. The volunteer crew of Eastbourne lifeboat arrived back at Sovereign Harbour shortly before midnight and having refuelled the boat and made it ready for service were eventually released in the early hours of Friday morning after over 12 hours of service with the grateful thanks of all concerned. 

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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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