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Eastbourne Lifeboat called to capsized trawler

Lifeboats News Release

Eastbourne’s all-weather lifeboat was launched at 3.52pm last evening (7 Nov) in atrocious conditions following a Mayday distress call involving a capsized Belgium trawler.

Photo of the upturned hull of the trawler floating in the sea.


The upturned hull of the trawler.

The trawler was working 15 miles offshore on the edge of the Dover Straits shipping lanes when its nets apparently snagged an underwater obstacle and quickly capsized.

All four crewmen were thrown into the water which was being whipped up into a four metre swell by near gale force winds.

In a stroke of amazing good fortune a passing coaster witnessed the event and immediately put out a Mayday distress message before plucking two of the fisherman from the water.

Meanwhile the remaining crewman managed to scramble unto the upturned hull of the stricken vessel. Lifeboats from Eastbourne and Newhaven were scrambled along with coastguard rescue helicopter 163.

The helicopter was first on scene and winched the two men from the upturned hull and then the two men from the coaster before taking all four to the Conquest Hospital at Hastings for assessment.

Meanwhile the volunteer crew of Eastbourne lifeboat were requested to stand by the upturned hull to mark its position and to warn other shipping in the area of the danger until such time as HM Coastguard could organise a tug to take the wreck to a safe place and set up an exclusion zone.

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 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.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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