Penlee RNLI volunteer crew rescue casualty found clinging to his kayak

Lifeboats News Release

This morning (Thursday 14 May) Penlee RNLI crew rescued a casualty 1 mile offshore who had been clinging to his upturned kayak for over an hour and developed hypothermia.

Mullion Coastguard Rescue Team

The lifeboat and HM Coastguard helicopter at Poldhu Cove

At 10.43am this morning the pagers sounded and the volunteer crew of the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat Mollie and Ivor Dent were requested to launch by the Falmouth Coastguard Operations Centre. It was an easterly Force 5-6 wind, with moderate/choppy sea and 1.5m swell.

They were initially tasked to investigate reports of a small unmanned vessel drifting in the sea about half-a-mile south of Gunwalloe.

At 10.48am, with James Roberts at the helm and crew members Amy Smith and Andrew ‘Woody’ Wood onboard, the inshore lifeboat Mollie and Ivor Dent swiftly launched from Newlyn.

She sped across Mount’s Bay and arrived on scene at 11.11am - Mullion Coastguard Rescue Team were on the shore but were not able to physically see the unmanned vessel. However, they directed the inshore lifeboat to the area where the first sighting had been made.

At 11.25am the crew spotted something in the water about 1 mile offshore just west of Poldhu Cove. On closer examination they found that it was an upturned camouflaged fishing kayak which had been secured to a crab pot and the male occupant of the kayak, who was partly submerged in freezing cold water, was desperately clinging on to his upturned kayak. He had been in this position for over an hour.

The crew of the Mollie and Ivor Dent recovered the casualty onboard the lifeboat where he was assessed, given oxygen, and the warming up process commenced by placing him in an exposure bag. It was clear that he was suffering from hypothermia.

Whilst immediate first aid was taking place on the lifeboat, the Coastguard Rescue helicopter 924 was scrambled and the Mullion Coastguard Rescue Team regrouped at Poldhu Cove.

The Mollie and Ivor Dent beached in Poldhu Cove and with the help of Mullion Coastguard Rescue Team the casualty was assisted to the awaiting helicopter - he was then airlifted to the Royal Cornwall Hospital at Truro.

The rescue was most likely a life saved and yet again it demonstrates the dedication, professionalism and team work of the RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew, HM Coastguard Operations Centre, Mullion Coastguard Rescue Team and the crew of Rescue 924.

All at Penlee lifeboat station are wishing the casualty a speedy recovery.

At present there are no RNLI lifeguards on beaches and although our volunteer lifeboat crews are fully operational, should they be needed, it is important that anyone visiting the coast understands the risk and takes the necessary steps to keep themselves safe. This will also help to reduce the demands placed on our lifeboat crews and other emergency services including HM Coastguard.

If you do choose to go kayaking, make sure you follow our basic safety checklist:

· Always carry a means of calling for help and keep it within reach

· wear a buoyancy aid or lifejacket.

· check the weather and tides

· tell someone where you’re going and when you'll be back.


Notes to editors

  • Please find attached images of the lifeboat and HM Coastguard helicopter at Poldhu Cove (credit Mullion Coastguard Rescue Team), and of the volunteer crew on the inshore lifeboat (credit Penlee RNLI).

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Elaine Trethowan, RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07704669406, or Marianne Quinn, Regional Media Officer on 07786 668847. Out of hours please contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or PressOffice@rnli.org.uk.

Penlee RNLI

The volunteer crew on the inshore lifeboat

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.

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