Appledore RNLI Lifeboat crew rescue injured gentleman

Lifeboats News Release

Last night (23 July) Appledore RNLI was involved in the rescue of an injured gentleman near Yelland Jetty.

Graham Hobbs

Appledore's inshore lifeboat Glanely (library photo)

Yesterday evening, Thursday 23 July, volunteer Appledore RNLI crew were undertaking their first risk assessed, COVID compliant, practical training exercise on both the all-weather boat, Mollie Hunt, and the inshore lifeboat, Glanely, since the beginning of lock down. Due to the necessity of keeping the crew, lifeboats and lifeboat house free of COVID so they can react immediately and safely to anyone in need on the water, the lifeboat house has remained closed during lockdown, for everything but emergency shouts and necessary routine maintenance.

At just after 8.30 pm, just as the inshore lifeboat was coming ashore, an emergency call came in to help a 75 year old gentleman who had been fishing and fallen or slipped 25 foot down an embankment, thought to be around 500 metres from Yelland Jetty. Having suffered possible head, chest, leg or hip injuries, the gentleman had managed to phone his family to ask for help. Thankfully his family immediately phoned the Coastguard and Appledore RNLI was asked to assist.

With the inshore lifeboat still in the water, they responded immediately and tried to locate the gentleman, searching from Instow Cricket Club to Yelland Marches. With the shallowness of the water in places, the helm of the inshore lifeboat requested the launch of the boarding boat to help search those areas, whilst the crew of the inshore lifeboat searched further up towards Fremington Quay but returned after it was clear from people fishing there that the casualty had not been seen in that area. Two crew members were put ashore to search, one each searching opposite sides of the jetty, together with a paramedic.

The casualty was found seconds before the boarding boat arrived on scene. He had slipped down the Tarka Trail embankment into the mud. It was decided that, with possible back injuries, the safest way of extracting him was by boarding boat, in a stretcher, supported by the paramedic. The inshore lifeboat went ahead to Instow Quay to soften the water and take any chop, providing a gentler passage for the boarding boat and casualty following very close behind, inside its wake. The crew then helped the waiting ambulance team transfer the casualty, who was then taken to hospital.

Both lifeboats returned to station at around 10.30 pm.

If anyone sees or hears of someone in difficultly on the coast or in the water, please do not hesitate to call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. They would much prefer a false call with good intent, than no call when someone is in urgent need of help.

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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.