Falmouth RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew tasked to assist with unexploded mine
Falmouth's all-weather lifeboat Richard Cox Scott launched on 29 and 30 November to assist in a multi-service operation off Maenporth beach.
A suspected unexploded ordnance had been discovered and reported by local SCUBA divers and subsequently Falmouth all-weather lifeboat was tasked to assist the police and Falmouth Coastguard Rescue Team, alongside the Explosives Ordnance Disposal Unit - Southern Diver Unit Team from Plymouth.
The lifeboat was launched at 11.50am on Wednesday 29 November and quickly arrived on scene. Aboard the lifeboat was Carl Beardmore, Deputy Second Coxswain, along with a volunteer crew: Adam West, William Allen, Jamie Wakefield, Jamie Connolly, Josh Beardmore and Jake Ingleby.
Working with the police and diver unit team, the lifeboat was tasked to ensure a safety zone around the ordnance, keeping boat traffic at a suitable safe distance while work was carried out. As light was fading quickly before the diver crew could safely detonate the underwater explosive, the decision was reached to return the following morning.
At 9am on Thursday 30 November, the all-weather lifeboat returned to the location, along with all services from the previous day and planned the strategy for the morning. The lifeboat crew was the same as the previous day apart from Josh Beardmore whose place was taken by Adrian Hingston. While Falmouth lifeboat provided a cordon at sea to marine traffic, and back-up in case of medical emergency, there was a successful detonation at 10.25am.
Community Safety Partner for the RNLI Steve Instance says: ‘If you find a suspicious device at the coast keep yourself and other people clear. Do not touch or attempt to move the device and instead dial 999 and ask for the coastguard. It is also useful if you are able to safely, to take a photo of the device and send that to the coastguard to help them identify it. If you come across the device in the water, note the position and contact the coastguard with a description and location as soon as possible. If the device is hauled up in nets or similar, the coastguard will provide advice on what to do. Do not simply jettison the device back into the water.’
Notes to editors
The Explosives Ordnance Disposal Unit confirmed that the device was 1,0000kg Bombenmine or G Mine around nine feet in length.
During World War II it is understood that multiple bombs and mines were dropped into Falmouth harbour and the surrounding waters. Ordnances are still being discovered.
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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.