Six launches in a day for Eastbourne Lifeboats

Lifeboats News Release

Eastbourne lifeboats were involved in multi-agency incidents for most of Thursday (3 May) eventually recovering two bodies from the sea

The volunteer crew of Eastbourne’s inshore lifeboat (ILB) were paged at 7.30am to assist local coastguards and police with a shoreline search of the Beachy Head area for a missing female thought to be in a distressed state. With nothing found the ILB was stood down and returned to station.

At 11.30am the ILB was again requested to launch, followed by Eastbourne’s all-weather lifeboat (ALB), when reports were received that a car had been driven off the cliffs at Beachy Head. When on scene the submerged wreck was found but it was impossible to ascertain whether the driver was still inside.

The surrounding area was searched with nothing found. The agencies on scene, in consultation with the co-ordinating authority at Solent Coastguard, decided nothing more could be done until low tide so both boats returned to station. Shortly after making the boat ready for service the ILB crew were paged again and requested to recover the body of a female which had been washed ashore at Birling Gap.

At 15.10pm both boats were relaunched to assist with the previous incident involving the car over the cliffs. Fire and rescue professionals and their equipment were ferried from Birling Gap to the scene where they eventually cut a male occupant from the wreckage. The ILB then returned the casualty to the lifeboat station where he was passed into the care of the police coroner some 12 hours after the initial call.

Later RNLI spokesman Bob Jeffery commended the volunteer lifeboat crew saying: 'Most people do not witness the horrific scenes that these young men dealt with today in a lifetime. They are a credit to the station and the RNLI for the manner in which they conducted themselves and the way the casualties were handled with utmost respect and dignity.'

Notes to editors

Eastbourne has celebrated over 185 years as a lifeboat station and currently operates an all-weather Tamar Class lifeboat ‘Diamond Jubilee’ and an inshore D-Class lifeboat ‘Laurence and Percy Hobbs’.

RNLI media contacts For more information please contact:

  • Bob Jeffery, Eastbourne RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07802 878017
  • Paul Dunt, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East) on : 0207 6207426 Mob: 07785 296252

For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

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.

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