Capsized dinghy sparks multi-agency rescue for Littlehampton RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

On Sunday 21 June HM Coastguard tasked the RNLI lifeboat station at Littlehampton to launch following reports of three persons in the water after a dinghy capsized near Pagham.

A card in a car window that says Emergency Lifeboat Crew

RNLI/Anthony Fogg

Volunteer crews for both of Littlehampton's inshore lifeboats responded to the emergency

At 6.12pm the charity’s volunteers launched the station’s D Class lifeboat Ray of Hope. The three person crew headed out of Littlehampton harbour directly in to a strong Force 6 westerly wind which made for heavy going in the smaller of the station’s inshore lifeboats. With low tide at 6.15pm it was uncertain whether the larger B Class Renee Sherman would make it out of the harbour, but once the first lifeboat was underway and with casualties in the water the second vessel was launched to assist in the rescue, carefully navigating it’s way through the shallow waters at the harbour entrance.

A crew from Littlehampton’s flanking station, Selsey, also launched and the Coastguard helicopter from Lydd was tasked. Three lifeboats were now heading to the scene of the incident. During transit, reports were received that a private jet ski rider had headed out from Pagham beach to assist the casualties in the water and at 6.35pm it was confirmed that all three persons, two adults and a child, were now ashore. The Selsey lifeboat crew recovered the remains of the dinghy to Pagham Yacht Club and the Coastguard helicopter stood down at 6.45pm.

Nick White, Lifeboat Operations Manager, said:

“The sea conditions were rough which made for challenging conditions for our crew. Although visibility was good, reports of persons in the water is of great concern and we were keen to quickly get assistance to the scene. Heading directly in to a Force 6 wind impedes progress so we advised the Coastguard to task our RNLI colleagues at Selsey to launch. They were able to get to the incident ahead of us, although fortunately the three casualties were already ashore by this time. The weather at the location of the capsize was slightly calmer than at Littlehampton, but was still very rough. Small inflatable boats, such as that recovered today, are not suitable craft in such sea conditions.”


RNLI media contacts

Anthony Fogg, Deputy Lifeboat Press Officer, Littlehampton RNLI 07823 509032

Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer, London and South East 07785 296252

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

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The capsized inflatable dinghy at the scene


The capsized inflatable dinghy at the scene
The Selsey lifeboat crew recover the remains of the dinghy


The Selsey lifeboat crew recover the remains of the dinghy

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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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