Ilfracombe RNLI lifeboats launched to assist in search for missing person

Lifeboats News Release

Both Ilfracombe lifeboats were launched to assist Coastguards and Police in the search for a 65 year old woman who was reported missing after she failed to return from a walk from Hunters Inn near Lynton.

ALB and ILB searching along coastline


Ilfracombe lifeboats search coastline near Heddons Mouth

The Ilfracombe RNLI all-weather lifeboat (ALB) The Barry and Peggy High Foundation and the inshore lifeboat (ILB) The Deborah Brown II were launched at 9.30p.m. on Friday 19 July to assist in the search for the woman who was last seen leaving Hunters Inn at 4.00p.m. to return towards Lee Abbey.

As the lifeboats made their way to the scene, conditions were good with a small swell and moderate winds and both lifeboats made good speed to Heddons Mouth arriving at around 10.00p.m. The volunteer crew made an extensive search along the coastline for around three hours with no sightings before they were stood down and the lifeboat returned to Ilfracombe lifeboat station at 1.30a.m. on Saturday morning.

The search resumed on Saturday 20 July and the volunteer crews launched both lifeboats again at 2.30p.m. and returned to Heddons Mouth to search along the coast at low tide. The ILB was able to search close in along the rocks and cliffs with the ALB providing support as there were large waves and moderate to strong winds. This was the first time as ILB Helm for newly qualified crew member Gillian Cole. The teams continued the search for a further three hours with no sightings before they were stood down and made their way back to the station to arrive at 6.10p.m.

On Sunday 21 July the ILB was again launched at the request of the Coastguard to continue the search. Volunteer RNLI Coxswain Leigh Hanks says: ‘this was another example of the RNLI working in close partnership with other emergency services and demonstrates the value of practising for such events. The two Ilfracombe lifeboats are perfectly suited to searching close inshore on the local rocky coastline due to their excellent manoeuvrability and the equipment they carry.’

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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 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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