Margate RNLI involved in major rescue operation for children in dinghy
Margate’s volunteer RNLI lifeboat crew has been involved in a major rescue operation following reports of children drifting seawards in an inflatable dinghy.
UK Coastguard received a number of reports early this afternoon (Monday 29 July) of children being blown out to sea in an inflatable dinghy and calling for help. There was confusion concerning the numbers involved and the location which indicated anywhere between Palm Bay and Botany Bay to the east of Margate. There was also concern about a number of adults reported as attempting to reach them from the shore.
Margate’s RNLI inshore lifeboat was tasked, along with Ramsgate RNLI inshore lifeboat, the coastguard rescue helicopter from Lydd Airport and Margate Coastguard Rescue Team.
The inshore lifeboat from Margate quickly located an empty inflatable toy off Foreness but with no children on board. The lifeboat then recovered the father of the children from the water who was totally distraught.
A passing pleasure craft indicated to the lifeboat that another pleasure craft further to seaward had picked up two children from the water and father and children were reunited on board the lifeboat. It was established that the other two adults involved, the childrens’ grandparents, had returned to shore unaided.
An RNLI lifeguard from Botany Bay who paddled out to the first pleasure craft was taken on board the lifeboat and along with the survivors taken to Botany Bay. The coastguard had meanwhile called an ambulance and it is believed (not confirmed) that the children were taken to hospital as a precaution.
All search units then returned to station.
Nick Smith, Deputy Launching Authority, Margate RNLI said: “With the holidays in full swing we urge parents not to let children venture to sea in inflatable dinghies and inflatable toys. The effect of wind and tide can quickly sweep them offshore with the added danger of being difficult to spot from both land and sea. These so-called toys can be lethal, ensure they are adequately tethered to something ashore or better still only use them in enclosed tidal pools. We also urge parents and others not to attempt rescue themselves in these situations but dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
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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, 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.