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RNLI joins France in tribute to remember three lifeboat crew members lost at sea

Lifeboats News Release

At 10.30am tomorrow morning (Thursday 13 June), RNLI volunteers and staff across the UK and Ireland will join the French community in remembering the three French rescue crew members who tragically lost their lives last Friday 7 June.

RNLI flag flying at half-mast in Poole

RNLI/Nathan Williams

RNLI Flag at Half-Mast

At 10.30am this morning (Thursday 13 June), RNLI volunteers and staff across the UK and Ireland joined the French community in remembering the three French rescue crew members who tragically lost their lives last Friday 7 June.

The French President, Emmanuel Macron, attended a gathering at Les Sables - d’Olonne where the lives of the three crew members were lost. The minute’s silence represents a national tribute, which followed the maritime community sounding its foghorns around the French coast.

RNLI lifeboat stations, support centres and sites joined the French community in remembering these brave crew members. RNLI lifeboat stations lowered their flags to half-mast as a mark of respect. At the RNLI Support Centre in Poole, staff members observed the silence on the pontoon at RNLI College at the flagpole. Community Lifesaving Director, John Payne, led the silence.

The RNLI’s Chief Executive, Mark Dowie, led the minute’s silence at Tynemouth Lifeboat Station. He says:

‘The news of this tragedy has been a shock to all of us in the lifesaving family, and is a reminder of just how dangerous the sea can be. To recognise this, and to mark the crew’s bravery, we are joining the French public today in a tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the pursuit of saving lives at sea. Our thoughts and condolences continue to be with all of those involved and we stand shoulder to shoulder with our French lifesaving colleagues.’ ​

The crew members were part of the rescue organisation, Société Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer (SNSM). They were onboard a rescue boat that went to the aid of a fishing vessel which had got into difficulty during Storm Miguel. The boat was overturned due to severe weather conditions, which saw winds of up to 80 miles per hour.

The RNLI has 238 lifeboat stations across the UK and Ireland and since 1824 has saved 142,700 lives. RNLI lifeguards patrol over 240 beaches around the UK and Channel Islands each summer.

Half-mast flag with memorial sculpture

RNLI/Nathan Williams

Half-mast flag with memorial sculpture
RNLI Flag at Half-Mast with Memorial Scultpure

RNLI/Nathan Williams

RNLI Flag at Half-Mast with Memorial Scultpure
One minute's silence at RNLI Support Centre in Poole

RNLI/Nathan Williams

One minute's silence at RNLI Support Centre in Poole
Mark Dowie, Chief Executive of RNLI

RNLI/Nathan Williams

Mark Dowie, Chief Executive of RNLI

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or or by email.

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