Abersoch RNLI rescue teenage paddleboarder swept out to sea
The volunteer crew at Abersoch RNLI were tasked by HM Coastguard at 3.45pm Saturday (8 August) following a report of a teenage paddleboarder who had been swept out by the tide in Aberdaron bay. The Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat was launched at 3.58pm and arrived on the scene within 20 minutes.
On arrival the crew were informed by HM Coastguard that the casualty was no longer on his paddleboard and was now in the water. It was believed he had left his board in an attempt to swim ashore but was now being swept out to sea. An immediate search commenced to locate him. Aberdaron Coastguard assisted from the cliff tops to see if the child could be spotted however due to a significant swell, an outgoing tide and offshore wind visibility of a person in the water was extremely difficult.
The casualty was carrying his mobile phone in a waterproof pouch and was talking to the police in an attempt to describe his exact location which was somewhere between Ynys Gwylan and Aberdaron headland. The Coastguard helicopter was tasked to assist with the search.
Approximately 20 minutes later the casualty was located in the water with the assistance of the Coastguard team on the headland. The RNLI team recovered the casualty from the water into the lifeboat.
The casualty, who was wearing his lifejacket, was extremely cold and confused and appeared to have swallowed a significant amount of water due to the sea state and was showing signs of hypothermia. His condition was assessed as serious and he was given immediate first aid by the crew before being airlifted from the lifeboat to the waiting Coastguard helicopter who then took him to Ysbyty Gwynedd Hospital in Bangor.
The rescue could have been very different were it not for the boy’s preparation in wearing a lifejacket and having a means to call for help.
Commending the actions of the teenager, RNLI helm Fritz Williams said ‘This call-out shows just how crucial a lifejacket is and having a means of calling for help. A lifejacket can buy you valuable time in a time-critical situation whilst you wait for help to arrive. Staying with your vessel/flotation device can help you to keep warm out of the water and also make you easier to find’.
Once the casualty was safely in the helicopter the crew returned to the lifeboat station where both the crew kit and lifeboat were thoroughly cleaned in accordance with current guidelines and left ready for service.
The following day, following his release from the hospital, the boy and his father attended the lifeboat station to collect his belongings and express their gratitude to all of the volunteer crew.
Notes to editors
· Video footage of the incident is available
· Abersoch Lifeboat Station has been operating for just over 150 years. To learn more about the lifeboat station go to https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeboat-stations/abersoch-lifeboat-station
· The current B Class Atlantic 85 Lifeboat launches to a variety of both commercial and leisure craft call-outs
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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.