Busy start to the May bank holiday for Swanage volunteer lifeboat crew
Just before midday on Saturday both boats were tasked to assist the evacuation of a man who had fallen and sustained head injuries in Kimmeridge Bay.
Due to the tricky location of the casualty and the injuries sustained, a multi-agency response had been requested. The inshore lifeboat (ILB) was able to enter the shallow waters of Kimmeridge bay to deploy two volunteer lifeboat crew at the casualty’s location where they joined forces with volunteer HM Coastguard, Fire and Rescue services, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance and ambulance paramedics to plan an evacuation.
ILB Helmsman, Gavin Steeden said: 'We had to make a careful approach to the casualty as the area has a number of ledges that make access challenging. Once we established the location of the casualty it became clear that evacuation by sea would be the safest and quickest option'.
Following consultation with the emergency services in attendance it was decided to transfer the casualty by lifeboat to Kimmeridge slipway and the waiting ambulance. Following assessments by the treating paramedic and the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance doctor, the casualty was carefully guided to the ILB and transferred across the bay. Once the casualty was safely transferred to the ambulance the Swanage lifeboats were freed to return to station.
Little more than an hour after returning to the station both Swanage’s lifeboats were tasked again, this time to an injured climber near Dancing Ledge. A kayaker had reported the incident and was positioned at the casualty location to assist with directing the lifeboats.
As the exact of the climber was unknown the Coxswain of the all-weather lifeboat, Rob Aggas, used direction finding equipment to search for a radio signal and quickly detected a radio signal east of Dancing Ledge. As this location was checked the onboard lifeboat crew confirmed visual identification of the kayaker standing by.
The ILB made the approach to the cliff, navigating the rocks to put two crew members ashore to assess the casualty. As the casualty was prepared for evacuation the ILB searched for a safe location to collect and then transfer the casualty to the all-weather lifeboat.
ILB Helm, Becky Mack said: 'The climber’s location was not accessible by land without climbing equipment, meaning that access by sea provided the quickest means of recovery. The clear water and good sea state made it easier for us to navigate the rocks and recover the casualty.'
The casualty was transferred to the all-weather lifeboat and then taken to the Poole Harbour entrance so that the casualty could be put ashore and taken to hospital.
After more than two and half hours at sea for the two rescues the pagers remained quiet for the rest of the day.
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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.