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St Mary’s RNLI help rescue 48 people from passenger boat taking on water

Lifeboats News Release

The volunteer crew at St Mary’s RNLI assisted in the rescue of 48 people from a passenger boat in the Isles of Scilly after it began taking on water.

St Mary’s RNLI lifeboat was launched at 11.35am yesterday (Sunday 15 May) following a mayday call from a local passenger vessel Surprise which had got into trouble in the Western Rocks area.

Nearby boats, including the fishing vessel Pioneer and a rigid inflatable boat (RIB), responded to the mayday call and were on scene within minutes to help the stricken boat. The RIB was brought alongside Surprise and began transferring passengers to the Pioneer.

Other boats in the area, including the water ambulance, were able to get alongside the boat to help transport the last of the passengers. A Coastguard rescue helicopter from Newquay also attended to offer assistance.

When the RNLI lifeboat arrived on the scene, a volunteer crew member was put aboard the Surprise with a salvage pump.

The volunteer crew of St Mary’s RNLI then transported the passengers from all the nearby boats into the lifeboat in order to get an accurate head count and check for injuries.

The lifeboat returned the passengers to St Mary’s Harbour and into the care of the coastguard team and ambulance crews. Once all the passengers were safely ashore, the lifeboat returned to escort the Surprise back to the shore.

Pete Hicks, St Mary’s RNLI Coxswain, said: ‘Throughout this incident the skipper and crew of the Surprise acted professionally and with great care towards the passengers which is evident as not one of the passengers got wet, everyone had a lifejacket on and all were in good spirits.

‘Thanks has to go to all the vessels involved that responded to the scene and others that offered to help. The swift response ensured that all passengers were transported from the boat quickly and safely brought ashore.’

The Surprise was recovered to Porthloo.

Note to editors

Video footage is attached- credit Maritime & Coastguard Agency.

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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