Whitstable Lifeboat launched to assist Kitesurfer
A teenage kitesurfer has been praised by the Whitstable Lifeboat crew after he was brought ashore by the lifeboat when his rig suffered equipment failure north west of the lifeboat station on Wednesday afternoon.
The lifeboat was launched at 4.30pm when kitesurfer, who did not wish to be identified, got into difficulties when the material enclosing the kite's 'bladder' an inflatable tube around the kite's leading edge, split causing damage to the bladder, and sending the kite into an uncontrollable spin known as a 'kite loop' dragging him out to sea and separating him from the kite's board.
Speaking afterwards he told members of the crew that “ I managed to pull the safety leash de-powering the kite and then swam to the kite and used it as a buoyancy aid. I then was able to call the coastguard on a small radio”.
Lifeboat Helmsman Rob Judge was full of praise for the 17-year old kitesurfer. “It is unusual for kitesurfers to carry small radio's and because he was so well prepared he was able to assist himself by calling for help rather than wait for someone ashore to see his predicament, he has done the right thing, the casualty was cold as a result of having been in the water for approximately 30-minutes but was otherwise unharmed”.
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 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.