Fraserburgh RNLI Tasked to Man in Water at Sandhaven

Lifeboats News Release

A member of the public saved a man’s life late on Tuesday night when they saw a man in the water at the end of the rocks at Sandhaven and phoned the Coastguard who immediately launched Fraserburgh Lifeboat

RNLI/Billy Watson

Coxswain Vic Sutherland and volunteers running to the lifeboat

A member of the public saved a man’s life late on Tuesday night when they saw a man in the water at the end of the rocks at Sandhaven and phoned the Coastguard who immediately launched Fraserburgh Lifeboat

Fraserburgh Lifeboat joined other emergency services combining in a tricky and quickly evolving joint operation and saved the man’s life.

Arriving at the scene at Sandhaven Coastguard Rescue Officers in almost total darkness and by the best of fortune quickly located the man in the water at the edge of the rocks, around a hundred yards from the shore.

The coastguards clambered over treacherous rocks covered in slippery seaweed, waded through uneven rock pools strewn with loose stones and other hidden dangers in the dark to reach the casualty.

A Coastguard Rescue Officer entered the water and pulled the man - who was severely hypothermic and was slipping in and out of consciousness - to safety on the rocks.

Other coastguards, police officers and lifeboat volunteers who were shoreside also reached the casualty and were able to assist at the scene.

The tide was coming in quickly and the rescue teams at the end of the rocks had to stabilise the casualty but had only a few minutes before they were cut off.

The lifeboat deployed the XP boat with volunteers John May and Stuart Ross and took the casualty aboard on a stretcher. The rapidly incoming tide had filled the rock pools by now so the rescue teams were able to pull the XP boat with the casualty aboard to the shore through the water, which was waist high in some places.

The casualty was transferred to a waiting ambulance and made the short journey to the playing fields at Sandhaven where he was transferred to the waiting Coastguard Helicopter R151.

He was airlifted to Aberdeen ARI where he was kept overnight and made a full recovery.

On this occasion the rescue team had managed to get there just in the nick of time, and the importance of the phone call from the alert member of the public cannot be underestimated. On this occasion it made all the difference.

Coxswain Vic Sutherland praised the member of the public who made the initial phone call saying that there is no doubt that on this occasion the man’s life was saved because of it and reminded everyone that in any coastal emergency people should dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Vic also praised members of the other emergency services for their part in the successful operation. 'From the lifeboat I kept in constant radio contact with Coastguard Rescue Officer Dave Kerr who was in command on the shore in a difficult rapidly changing situation and Dave was full of praise for how the different emergency services worked together to ensure we got a positive result and happy ending.'


RNLI/Billy Watson

Pulling the XP boat and casualty
The underfoot conditions at the rocks at Sandhaven were treacherous

RNLI/Billy Watson

RNLI/Billy Watson

The casualty was transferred to the XP boat

RNLI/Billy Watson

The XP boat with the casualty is pulled though the water

RNLI/Billy Watson

The casualty being airlifted to Aberdeen

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.

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