Medevac is third launch of 2020 for Aberdeen Lifeboats

Lifeboats News Release

Aberdeen’s all-weather lifeboat was called to perform a medical evacuation of a crew member from an oilfield platform supply vessel (PSV) at anchor in Aberdeen Bay this evening, Friday 3 January 2020 – less than 24 hours after two other Aberdeen lifeboats were out on search operations last night.

Aberdeen Lifeboat crew help the casualty (in dark clothing, but wearing RNLI protective helmet and lifejacket) down the PSV's pilot ladder and aboard RNLB Bon Accord

RNLI Aberdeen

Aberdeen Lifeboat crew help the casualty (in dark clothing, but wearing RNLI protective helmet and lifejacket) down the PSV's pilot ladder and aboard RNLB Bon Accord

Today’s medevac was triggered when the PSV crewmember complained of chest pain and numbness in one side of his body – symptoms typically associated with heart attack.

The Master asked UK Coastguard for assistance in getting the casualty to hospital as quickly as possible; Aberdeen Lifeboat ‘Bon Accord’ was tasked, launched at 5.15pm and weaved her way through the unusually busy Aberdeen Bay anchorage (the volunteer lifeboat crew counted at least 30 vessels at anchor, as the radar and AIS images attest).

Michael Cowlam, coxswain of Aberdeen Lifeboat during the operation, says: “Conditions were excellent – perfect visibility and a gentle swell from the gentle offshore breeze. The challenge was finding the right vessel in the densely crowded anchorage. None of us had ever seen it so busy.”

The lifeboat came alongside the PSV around 5.30pm and transferred two casualty-care qualified crew members aboard the PSV to assess the casualty’s condition. Having assessed him as fit for transfer to the lifeboat and onward to shore, the man was brought aboard the lifeboat which returned to her berth at 6.15pm, where the casualty was handed into the care of the Scottish Ambulance Service.

Today’s service came less than 24 hours after, first, Aberdeen’s D-class inshore lifeboat and then Bon Accord’s Y-boat daughter craft were launched on Thursday night to assist Police Scotland in a riverbank search of the River Dee. Concern had been raised for the safety of a missing elderly gentleman who was known to be suffering from dementia and potentially in a confused state. The crews searched extensively but were stood down when, happily, a member of the public found the missing man in the city centre.

Bill Deans MBE, lifeboat operations manager at Aberdeen Lifeboat Station, says “For all three of Aberdeen’s lifeboats to be called out on service in the first three days of a New Year is exceptional. I can’t remember a start to the year like it in my 40-plus years’ service at Aberdeen Lifeboat Station.”

The cluttered radar image of Aberdeen Bay anchorage. the bright vertical line is the seafront, with the 30-plus vessels at anchor shown to the east

RNLI Aberdeen

The cluttered radar image of Aberdeen Bay anchorage. the bright vertical line is the seafront, with the 30-plus vessels at anchor shown to the east
The lifeboat's Automatic Identification System (AIS) shows more clearly how busy the anchorage has been this New Year

RNLI Aberdeen

The lifeboat's Automatic Identification System (AIS) shows more clearly how busy the anchorage has been this New Year
Job done: RNLB Bon Accord returns to her berth to pass the casualty to the care of Scottish Ambulance

RNLI Aberdeen

Job done: RNLB Bon Accord returns to her berth to pass the casualty to the care of Scottish Ambulance

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.

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