Filey RNLI crew receive two awards

Lifeboats News Release

The RNLI has today (3rd October) awarded Filey Lifeboat Crew two Framed Letters of Thanks following a dramatic and successful rescue of a teenager from York which was carried out in complete darkness and rough seas on 8th April this year.

Paul Wilson, helmsman of Filey’s inshore lifeboat (ILB), Braund, received a personal framed letter whilst a second has been awarded collectively to both crews of the ILB and Filey’s Mersey Class all-weather lifeboat (ALB) Keep Fit Association.

In the early hours of Friday 8th April 2016, Humber Coastguard requested the launch of both the ALB and ILB following a report of a missing female near the cliffs at Chimney Hole approximately 3 miles north of Filey Brigg.

Shortly before 4am, the ILB, helmed by Paul Wilson, launched with Tom Barkley and Fraser Haddington as crew. The ALB with Coxswain/Mechanic Barry Robson in command along with Dave Eblet, Richard Johnson, Gary Wilson, Jon Harrison, Ben Hargreaves and Steve Terry as crew, followed shortly afterwards.

Following an extensive search, the female was located by the ILB crew at the bottom of cliffs just to the north of Chimney Hole. It was soon discovered that she had fallen down the cliffs and had sustained injuries to her head and legs. She was also suffering from severe cold and may have been there for over 5 hours.

Due to the swell and the rocks in the area, Helm Wilson decided to land further down the coast. He successfully managed this and put Crew Member Barkley ashore to assess the condition of the casualty.

At this time, two larger waves broke over the ILB filling it with water so the anchor was recovered as the crew made for safer water. Around the same time the Coastguard Rescue Team managed to reach the casualty from the cliff top and the ALB arrived on scene. However, the girl’s condition was starting to deteriorate, there was no helicopter available for a while and no way of getting her up the cliff, so it was decided the only option was to remove her from danger by sea.

ALB crew member Ben Hargreaves was transferred onto the ILB to assist. The girl could not be moved because of her condition, so the crew had little choice but to land again closer to her while the waves were battering the ILB. They managed to get ashore and drag the ILB out of the water to a safer position which was vertical on the cliff face.

The girl was transferred onto a stretcher and placed into the ILB. The ILB was re-floated with all the crew aboard and the anchor line cut before proceeding to safer water where the casualty was recovered to the ALB. On board, she received further casualty care from the ALB crew, led by Steve Terry (a trained paramedic) on route to Scarborough where an ambulance was waiting.

In his citation to Paul Wilson, Paul Boissier, Chief Executive of the RNLI writes: “The casualty spent several days in intensive care but has since made a full recovery and if it was not for your skill and leadership she would not be here today. You showed great decision making and great boat handling skill in poor conditions."

He also praised the crews of both boats for their “efforts and excellent teamwork during the rescue”.
These awards for bravery of both crews are only the 8th and 9th such awards to Filey since the station was founded in 1804; and to receive two for the same service is an outstanding achievement.

John Ward, Filey Lifeboat Press Officer said: “It is quite unusual for two Framed Letters of Thanks to be awarded for the same service but such were the conditions on that night that special mention has to go to Paul Wilson for his skill in leading the call-out and also to all the crew on both boats who helped and assisted. We train a great deal here at Filey for scenarios such as this with our all-weather lifeboat acting as a safety platform and casualty care base for those who have fallen down the cliffs. This type of casualty has been identified in the RNLI’s new Community Lifesaving Plan as one of the main sources of call-outs for the Filey crews over the past few years.”

Picture caption

1. Paul Wilson receiving his Letter of Thanks from outgoing RNLI Chairman Charles Hunter-Pease. Credit RNLI/Nathan Williams 

Notes to editors
• Filey Lifeboat Station was founded in 1804. It currently operates both a Mersey-Class All-Weather Lifeboat and an Inshore Lifeboat. To learn more about the lifeboat station go to Filey Lifeboat Facebook page. 
RNLI media contacts
For more information please telephone John Ward, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07771800748 or or Alison Levett, Media Relations Manager North on 07786 668912 or contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789

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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 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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