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Life saved following major sea search and rescue involving Appledore RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

On Monday night, 24th April, a twenty one year old male kite surfer was extremely lucky, saved from drowning by a major sea search and rescue.


Appledore RNLI successful search for missing kite surfer

At just after 8.20 pm the emergency pagers went off for the volunteer crew at Appledore Lifeboat Station and both lifeboats were immediately launched to take part in a search for a missing kite surfer who had last been seen at around 6.45 pm between the South Tail, near the Taw / Torridge river mouth, and Bideford Fairway Buoy where the tide runs fast, and was ebbing rapidly. The all-weather lifeboat was tasked to search this area whilst, due to the tide and wind conditions, the inshore lifeboat was tasked to search between the Fairway Buoy south to Rock Nose off Westward Ho! Cliffs.

The Bideford Coastguard was tasked to search the shore line, and St Athan’s coastguard rescue helicopter was also tasked to help search from the air.

After an hour of searching in the dark, the all-weather lifeboat reported seeing an object in the water which turned out to be the casualty who they retrieved on board alive although much shaken and extremely cold. He was quickly accessed by the first aiders on board the lifeboat, and brought back to the lifeboat station for to await an ambulance where he could be could be checked over by paramedics before going home.

The sea temperature at the time was only around 11.4 degrees centigrade. The casualty had a black wet suit which does not show up in the dark. However he used his kite surfer survival techniques and managed to wrap the orange and blue kite into as large an area of visibility as possible bending the inflation tube at the front of the kite to make a makeshift liferaft which must have gone a long way to help save his life. The RNLI was established to save lives at sea and it is a terrific outcome that this man is still alive to tell the tale.


Both Appledore RNLI’s two lifeboats were deployed in a search and rescue mission that saved the life of a twenty one year old male on Monday night (27/4/2017)

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Niki Tait, Appledore RNLI Volunteer Press Officer on 01237 423163 or 07802713435 or email

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