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Dover RNLI volunteers have second early wake-up call two days in a row

Lifeboats News Release

The volunteer lifeboat crew at Dover had their second early call out in a row this morning when a 999 call was received just after 6am.

Dover RNLI lifeboat and a UK Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Lydd involved in today's search

Sarah Hewes

Dover RNLI lifeboat and a UK Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Lydd involved in today's search

In calmer seas and with little breeze, in comparison to the recent challenging weather conditions brought by Storm Angus, the lifeboat crew members leapt from their beds at 6.07am at the sound of their pagers, after the UK Coastguard requested assistance.

The call came amid reports that a group of people were lost in a boat off the east Kent Coast with several onboard feeling unwell. They alerted emergency services that they were in a boat and could "see five red lights and a train".

Dover RNLI’s Severn class lifeboat, City of London II, was launched at 6:20am and proceeded to conduct a search from Dover towards Folkestone Harbour alongside the Coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Lydd.

Upon daylight, a boat with seven people on board - including three with suspected hypothermia - was then found heading into Folkestone Harbour, where they were met by Kent Police and UK Coastguard search and rescue teams on the shore. However this wasn’t the end of the search as it was believed there was the possibility of a second boat.

The search and rescue efforts continued until it was established that this boat was the one that had made the original call. Kent Police, South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAMBS) and UK Border Force were all involved.

Robert Bendhiaf, duty coxswain of Dover RNLI lifeboat, said: ‘As the charity that saves lives at sea, the RNLI’s role is to assist those in danger, which our volunteer lifeboat crews have been carrying out without prejudice since 1824. Our lifeboat crews launch simply to assist those in danger or distress at sea. We make no judgement on the status of those we rescue, their motives for being on the water, or what brought them into peril on the sea.

'We make no distinction by nationality, race, sex or creed. Once a rescue has taken place and we are satisfied that a casualty is no longer at risk they are handed over to the relevant agencies, be it an ambulance crew, police or – as in this case – Border Force . In all instances our lifeboat crews’ concern is for the safety and wellbeing of the person(s) they rescue. In today's incident, myself and fellow volunteers were delighted this morning to discover seven persons safe and well.'

A spokesperson for the UK Home Office said: 'At 5:32am this morning (Wednesday, 23 November), a 999 call to Kent Police raised concerns about a small boat off the coast of Dover. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency launched a search and rescue operation with Dover RNLI to locate the boat. It is now in Folkestone Harbour and initial enquiries suggest there were seven men on board. All those on board are now being dealt with by Border Force.'

RNLI media contacts

  • Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207426, 07785 296252 tim_ash@rnli.org.uk
  • Ed Baker, Dover RNLI Volunteer Press Officer on 0771679967, Edward_baker@rnli.org.uk
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789
Library image of Dover RNLI's Severn class lifeboat, 'City of London II'

RNLI/Dover

Library image of Dover RNLI's Severn class lifeboat, 'City of London II'

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 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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

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

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