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Littlehampton RNLI in harbour rescue of six people.

Lifeboats News Release

At 8.13am on Friday 19 October Littlehampton Lifeboat Station was tasked to launch by HM Coastguard following reports that a 27-foot-long wooden fishing boat had sunk in the harbour entrance and there were four or five people in the water.

Atlantic 85 returning casualty to lifeboat stationstation

RNLI/Eddie Mitchell

Atlantic 85 returning casualty to lifeboat stationstation

The station’s volunteer crew responded rapidly to their pagers and launched the station’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat Renée Sherman at 8.22am and were on the scene within a minute, just ten minutes after the initial call to launch. The HM Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Lee-on-Solent, Littlehampton Coastguard Rescue team and the South East Coast Ambulance Service and Sussex Police were also in attendance.

When the lifeboat crew arrived at the scene, a quarter of a mile from the lifeboat station, it emerged that there had been six men on the fishing boat. One man was still in the water and five had been rescued from the water by two other fishing vessels. The volunteer crew of the Atlantic lifeboat rescued the man from the water and took him and a second man, who had been rescued by one of the fishing boats and was believed to be one of the most severely affected by their time in the water, to the lifeboat station. The lifeboat then returned to the harbour entrance and the four remaining men were transferred from the fishing boats to the lifeboat and taken to the lifeboat station to warm up and receive treatment by the ambulance crews. None of the casualties required transferring to hospital.

After rescuing the six men, the lifeboat returned for a third time to the harbour entrance to retrieve floating debris. The Harbour Authority were advised of the location of the obstruction in the harbour to avoid any hazard to passing vessels. The lifeboat was stood down and returned to the boat house at 10.05am. and was re-fuelled and made ready for service.

Nick White, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Littlehampton Lifeboat Station said “He wanted to thank the people on the two fishing vessels in the area who were able to pull five of the men from the water. When there are people in the water every second counts, so we are extremely grateful to the people on those vessels who played a really important part in ensuring everyone was rescued and returned safely to shore following this incident”.

RNLI media contacts

  • Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (South East) on 0207 6207426, 07785 296252, email paul_dunt@rnli.org.uk
Rescue Services outside the lifeboat station

RNLI/Eddie Mitchell

Rescue Services outside the lifeboat station

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.

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