Multiagency search for night time paddle boarder.

Lifeboats News Release

Last night, both Ilfracombe RNLI’s all-weather and inshore lifeboats, Appledore RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat, Morte and Ilfracombe’s mobile coastguard units, the coastguard helicopter and police were all involved in the night time search for a missing paddle boarder.

At 11.20 pm on the night of Tuesday 15 October the crew of both of Ilfracombe Lifeboats were tasked to search for a missing person who had gone paddle boarding from Hele Bay at approximately 11 pm, just wearing shorts and a tee shirt, after an alleged argument.

With an ebbing tide and offshore wind, the inshore lifeboat commenced a shore line search whilst the all-weather boat carried out a search 400 metres off shore, both working west towards Morte Point. The local coastguards and police conducted a search from land along the coast. With no one found within the first forty five minutes, St Athan’s Coastguard Helicopter and Appledore all-weather boat joined in the search. With more than a four knot ebbing tide running, Appledore was requested to search between Baggy Point and Morte. Visibility was good between rain showers with white parachute flares used to further illuminate the area, though the force six wind and moderate choppy swell were increasing as the search continued.

On completion of the search pattern the volunteers from Appledore RNLI were stood down just after 2.40 am, followed soon after by Ilfracombe. By this time the tide was low, and with the surf breaking on Bideford Bar, Appledore RNLI had to delay their return until the water depth on the Bar rose sufficiently to make it safe to do so, getting back to the lifeboat station at 4.45 in the morning of 16th October.

At 4.12 am the police, who had been waiting at the missing person’s home, reported that he had just walked in the door, safe and well.

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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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