Newhaven lifeboat takes part in mass casualty exercise
Newhaven’s Severn class lifeboat ‘David and Elizabeth Acland’ and her volunteer crew took part in the largest multi-casualty exercise in Newhaven Harbour for 10 years this weekend.
Operation Dolphin was held on Sunday 7 October and was an exercise that simulated the collision of two vessels in Newhaven Harbour. The 'collision' resulted in mass casualties on both vessels, multiple persons in the water as well as casualties on Newhaven’s east beach (Tidemills).
The exercise was organised by South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAMB) and Newhaven Port Authority, and was co-ordinated by the Coastguard.
Lifeboats from Newhaven, Brighton and Eastbourne were involved, as well as the local coastguard rescue teams, East Sussex Fire and Rescue, the Kent Sussex and Surry Air Ambulance, Sussex Police and UK Border Force. Harbour Authority vessels simulated the casualty boats involved in the collision.
One of the vessels was carrying students playing the role of injured asylum seekers and migrants, testing the response of UK Border Force and Sussex Police.
Newhaven Lifeboat was the first boat on scene, assessing the situation and transferring two lifeboat crew members onto both casualty boats. These crew members then rapidly triaged the casualties on both vessels as the lifeboat prioritised recovering the people in the water.
Eastbourne and Brighton lifeboats then arrived on scene and began to assist with the casualty care and recovery.
As Eastbourne Lifeboat recovered one casualty vessel to the harbour, Newhaven Lifeboat brought SECAMB paramedics back out to the second vessel to provide medical care onboard.
All casualties were landed back in the harbour to Rampion Quay, which was set up as the Primary Landing Stage, where casualties were assessed and medical treatment continued under the care of the ambulance service and air ambulance doctors.
The English Channel is the world's busiest shipping lane with more than 500 ships a day passing through the narrow straight between the UK and France and Newhaven is one of several RNLI stations on the UK's south coast ready to launch its volunteer crews to any emergency. Newhaven lifeboat Coxswain Paul Rogers said Operation Dolphin was a superbly organised exercise that provided valuable inter-agency training for all involved.
Notes to editors
To follow Newhaven lifeboat services visit www.newhavenlifeboat.co.uk, Facebook, Twitter & You Tube for the latest pictures and video. Newhaven has celebrated over 210 years as a lifeboat station, also being the oldest RNLI station in the UK. Newhaven operates an all-weather Seven Class lifeboat ‘RNLB David and Elizabeth Acland’
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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 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.