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.

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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, in a normal year, 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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