Tumultuous Tuesday - four shouts & a suspected unexploded bomb for RNLI Calshot

Lifeboats News Release

Hot on the heels of dealing with a plane crash over the weekend, a normal Tuesday turned into the busiest day of the year for the volunteer crew at RNLI Calshot as they attended no fewer than four separate incidents, including one that involved a suspected piece of unexploded ordnance.

RNLI/Justyn Leonard

Atlantic B-Class lifeboat Max Walls

The day began at 11.19am when HM Solent Coastguard requested the Atlantic 85 B-Class lifeboat Max Walls to be brought to immediate readiness due to a welfare concern for an individual aboard a vessel on the Beaulieu River. Shortly afterwards, the B-Class was launched, crewed by Graham Burgess, Matt Rawlins, Ben Courcha and helm Jody Miles. On arrival at the Beaulieu River, the individual in question declined assistance and sailed towards Lymington. At the request of the Solent Coastguard, the B-Class escorted the vessel towards Lymington.

While involved in this shout, at 11.59am, the team at the station was alerted to a situation in the Ashlett Creek area where a family had launched an inflatable kayak and had been left stranded on the mudflats by the receding tide. D-Class lifeboat Willett was launched with a crew of Damian Lester, Kelley Leonard and helm Tom Pederson. Upon arrival at the scene it was apparent that due to the rapidly receding tide, it would not be possible to get the boat close enough to recover the casualties. As the temperature was rising above 26 degrees, and with the safety of the casualties a major concern, crew remained on site with them while specialist mud rescue teams from Lymington & Hill Head Coastguard stations could be brought to extract them.

When they arrived, Lymington Coastguard began to plot a path to the casualties. As they were doing this they noticed, above high tide level, what they suspected was a piece of unexploded ordnance. Cordoning off the area, police were immediately informed to deal with this added complication. On the arrival of the Hill Head Coastguard team, the casualties were extracted via a different route by the specialist mud rescue team. Lifeboat crews were stood down and returned to station, and the area handed over to the police to deal with the suspected ordnance.

In the meantime at 3.20pm, as the B-Class was returning to station from Lymington, the volunteer crew was retasked to assist with a search for a missing paddleboarder off The Needles. They conducted a search for the casualty from The Needles to Shingles Bank. Soon after, they were stood down and returned to station as the paddleboarder had been located safe and well.

At 3.45pm, the D-Class was once again required, as HM Solent Coastguard tasked them to reports of a swimmer in difficulty after a 999 call from a member of the public. Crewed by Damian Lester, Darren Taylor and helm Tom Pederson, the D-Class made good speed to the scene to find two casualties on inflatables drifting into the shipping channel. Rapidly securing them and their inflatables, the crew then returned them back to Calshot Lifeboat station.

Calshot Deputy Launching Authority, Mark Weatherhead said: ‘Today was a challenging day. Not only did it require a significant level of coordination with multiple agencies as we handled separate incidents in parallel, but each of the 4 shouts was very different in its nature and our volunteer boat crews had to demonstrate a broad range of skills in order to bring each of the incidents to a successful conclusion’.

RNLI Media Contacts:

Calshot Lifeboat Station volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer Danni Strawford-Jones (07721) 694135 dstrawford@hotmail.com

Calshot Lifeboat Station volunteer Deputy Lifeboat Press Officer Justyn Leonard (07540) 920678 justyn_leonard@rnli.org.uk

Regional Media Officer, South East and London, Paul Dunt (07785) 296252 paul_dunt@rnli.org.uk

For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

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 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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

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.

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

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.