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Both Falmouth RNLI lifeboats called to assist with urgent medical evacuation

Lifeboats News Release

At 9.52am on 3 August the pagers alerted Falmouth RNLI lifeboat volunteers to a medevac situation on a ship moored above the King Harry Ferry, in the River Fal.

By 10.09am the inshore lifeboat Eve Pank was on the way, and approximately 9 minutes later the all-weather lifeboat Richard Cox Scott was also heading up river, carrying the coastguard rescue team and all their equipment.

The injured seaman had been carrying out maintenance on a crane when he slipped and fell five metres to the deck below, sustaining serious injuries in the process. One of his shipmates on the Swedish Reefer used his mobile phone to alert the ambulance service to the incident, who then informed the coastguard.

Arriving on the scene at 10.13am, the inshore lifeboat transferred two of its crew, Tom Telford and Claire Angove, onto the ship to administer first aid to the casualty until paramedics arrived. In the meantime the inshore lifeboat collected the paramedics from King Harry Ferry landing and transferred them to the ship.

The all-weather lifeboat arrived on scene approximately 19 minutes later and were tasked with taking six members of the coastguard rescue team together with all their kit to assist with a rope evacuation of the casualty. Four of the team and the harbourmaster were eventually transferred to the ship to assess the situation.

At this point it was decided that the casualty could not be transferred from the reefer onto the all-weather lifeboat via a rope transfer due to his injuries, so the coastguard rescue helicopter was requested and within minutes arrived on scene to assist.

The casualty was made as comfortable as possible, winched into the helicopter in a stretcher and then taken to Derriford Hospital for further treatment.

On completion of the operation all personnel and equipment were loaded onto the all-weather lifeboat whilst the inshore lifeboat crew transferred the paramedics back to King Harry Ferry landing.

Both lifeboats were released back to station at 11.26am, where all the coastguard equipment and personnel were then off loaded. The lifeboats were then washed down and refuelled ready for service again.

Senior Coxswain of RNLI Falmouth Lifeboat Station John Blakeston, who was the coxswain on duty during the incident, said: 'This was a classic example of all the emergency rescue services working in harmony to save a person’s life. A special well done must go to Claire Angove and Tom Telford for the work they did looking after the casualty until more help arrived on the scene.'

Notes to editors

  • Manning the all-weather lifeboat on this launch were: Coxswain John Blakeston Coxswain, Jake Ingleby, Dave Nicoll, Luke Wills, Adam West, Jamie Wakefield and Will Allen.
  • The volunteer crew on the inshore lifeboat were: Claire Angove, Helmsman Tom Bird and Tom Telford.

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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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland