Two rescues in one for Penlee volunteers

Lifeboats News Release

At 1.53pm this afternoon (Thursday 27 December) for the second time in just over 24 hours, the crew pagers sounded and a request to launch the all-weather lifeboat Ivan Ellen was received from the Falmouth Coastguard Operations Centre.

Lifeboat, fishing vessel


Volunteer crew of Ivan Ellen lifeboat assisting casualty from the water

The volunteer crew were tasked to assist a local crabber, the Prospector, which had picked up a trawl in its propeller about a mile off Lamorna. The 33-foot Prospector with two persons onboard was already under tow by another local fishing vessel Dream Catcher, but due to the weight of the trawl being towed no headway was being made. In near perfect weather and sea conditions, the all-weather lifeboat Ivan Ellen was quickly on scene and the tow was handed over - the Dream Catcher then continued its journey back to Newlyn.

The Ivan Ellen lifeboat had been towing the crabber for about half-an-hour and were just passing Roskilly Beach, about a mile west of Newlyn, when they heard a VHF message from the skipper of the Dream Catcher indicating that another local fishing vessel had steamed into the South Pier at Newlyn. He could get no response from the vessel but informed the lifeboat that there was a person in difficulties in the water.

RNLI Coxswain Patch Harvey made an immediate decision to drop the tow and quickly headed for Newlyn. On arrival the volunteer crew found that a vessel had collided with the South Pier, it’s engine was still in gear, and the lone fisherman who had been onboard was struggling in the water about 30-yards from his vessel. He was being held up and prevented from drowning by the skipper of the Dream Catcher.

Volunteer crew member Dan Sell immediately donned a full dry suit and went into the water to assist the casualty, a male in his late 30s. He was safely guided alongside the lifeboat and the remaining lifeboat crew lifted him from the water using the davit and strops. It was immediately clear that the casualty was suffering from severe hypothermia. He was taken inside the lifeboat, stripped of his wet clothing, wrapped in blankets, and his feet were elevated. Coxswain Patch Harvey then made a 999 call and requested the immediate attendance of an ambulance to Newlyn.

Once the casualty was safely onboard, volunteer crew member David Pascoe climbed onboard the stricken vessel, which was still against the South Pier with its engine running, and brought it safely back to the pontoon in Newlyn Harbour.

The Ivan Ellen quickly returned to its mooring pontoon in Newlyn Harbour and the casualty was carried to Penlee Lifeboat Station by the lifeboat crew. He was given immediate treatment by paramedics and conveyed to hospital. His current condition is not known.

A further two volunteer crew members then joined the Ivan Ellen and she immediately returned to sea and picked up her tow again. The Prospector was towed safely through the gaps into Newlyn Harbour a short while later - a very busy and eventful day for the Penlee lifeboat crew.

RNLI Coxswain Patch Harvey said: "I would like to praise the actions of a young boy who was on the beach at Sandy Cove. He saw that there was someone struggling in the water and told his Dad who immediately called 999 and reported the incident to the Coastguard. I would also like to thank the skipper of the Dream Catcher for his help and assistance on both shouts. There is no doubt that his prompt actions have helped to save a life - well done to all involved."

Further details surrounding this incident maybe available at a later stage.

Coxswain Patch Harvey will be available for interview from 9.30am tomorrow morning (28 December) at Penlee Lifeboat Station. Any initial media enquiries should be directed to Penlee Lifeboat Press Officer Elaine Trethowan on 0770 466 9406.


Vessel Dream Catcher helping to save fellow fisherman


Newlyn crabber under tow by Ivan Ellen lifeboat

Key facts about the RNLI

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.