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Falmouth and Fowey RNLI launch to reports of explosion onboard vessel

Lifeboats News Release

The volunteer crews were tasked by the Coastguard to reports of an explosion on a 12 metre long vessel south of Dodman Point.

The volunteer crews were tasked by the Coastguard to reports of an explosion onboard a 12 metre long vessel south of Dodman Point.

Falmouth’s all-weather lifeboat was launched just after 1pm yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 4 October) and arrived swiftly on scene.

On arrival, the Fishery Patrol vessel St Piran was on scene alongside a Coastguard rescue helicopter. A crew member from the St Piran had been transferred to the casualty vessel by rib and was helping a paramedic who had been lowered from the Coastguard rescue helicopter.

It’s understood the casualty vessel had been on its way to a commercial diving operation off Plymouth when diving air cylinders exploded onboard. Two of the three crew members were injured in the explosion.

Two lifeboat crew members were transferred to the casualty vessel to assist with treating the injured men and preparing them for evacuation by helicopter to Derriford Hospital. Once the casualty evacuation had been completed, another lifeboat crew member was transferred to help the third man prepare for the Fowey all-weather lifeboat to take the vessel under tow.

Fowey’s all-weather lifeboat was launched at 1.48pm to help in the multi-agency rescue. On arrival the volunteer crew established a tow with the casualty vessel. Once Fowey’s lifeboat had taken up the tow, Falmouth’s lifeboat went alongside and the third man and three volunteer lifeboat crew members were transferred onboard before returning to Falmouth Lifeboat Station at 3.41pm.

The MTS Agillity took over the tow from Fowey RNLI having checked the condition of the remaining dive cylinders. Fowey’s crew was then released to return to Fowey Lifeboat Station and The MTS Agillity towed the casualty vessel back to Falmouth.

Area Lifesaving Managaer for South Cornwall James Millidge said: 'This is a great example of joint working between Fowey and Falmouth RNLI lifeboat crews and the other agencies and vessels involved, including the Coastguard helicopter. RNLI crews were on the scene quickly to provide first aid support to those on board the vessel and help in their evacuation to hospital. This incident highlights how important it is when going out to sea to carry a means of calling for help because this particular vessel, after the explosion, was able to raise the alarm very quickly. As a result they were able to get the help and assistance they required in order to get the best outcome for those on board.'

Notes to Editor

Video footage of the rescue is available here

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RNLI crews assist in multi-agency rescue off Dodman Point

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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.

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