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Four RNLI lifeboat stations involved in search for missing fishermen

Lifeboats News Release

RNLI lifeboats from Fowey, Looe, Plymouth and Salcombe were launched on Saturday 28 May to assist in the search for a missing 18ft open fishing boat with two people aboard.

The fishing boat set out on an evening’s fishing trip and didn’t return home. Plymouth RNLI's all-weather lifeboat was launched at 3.45am on Saturday to search for the vessel reporting via mobile phone that it was broken down and lost in fog off the Eddystone. The lifeboat searched around the Eddystone in extremely poor visibility but as there was no further information available the lifeboat was stood down.

Shortly after arriving back in Plymouth the coastguard received further information and the lifeboat relaunched at around 5am. At around 8am two lifeboats from Looe RNLI and two from Fowey RNLI also launched and were assisted in the search by HMS Echo. At around 9am Salcombe all-weather lifeboat was also launched and the Search and Rescue helicopter from Newquay was tasked.

The search was seriously hampered by the thick mist with visibility of less than 100m in most areas.  The casualty only had a mobile telephone and no means of telling where they were so had stopped to avoid moving in the wrong direction.

The search by six RNLI lifeboats concentrated along all the coast east from Gribbin Head. The popular fishing area around the Eddystone Lighthouse was also comprehensively searched.

Finally a yacht spotted the casualty vessel approximately six miles south west of the Eddystone lighthouse. The casualties were put aboard Plymouth’s all-weather lifeboat and the boat was towed in. Fortunately the casualties were uninjured. All other lifeboats returned to station.

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

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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