Scott’s donation will help Fraserburgh RNLI lifeboat save other lives at sea
We had a nice surprise one afternoon back in the summer when Scott Mclean came down and met us outside the lifeboat station and proceeded to hand over a cheque for £300 from his own pocket to Fraserburgh Lifeboat Coxswain/Mechanic Vic Sutherland.
Scott said it was a way of thanking the RNLI for saving him and a friend when he was a boy.
Scott, now 19, was only 13 in July 2014 when he was playing with a bunch of friends in the water beside Tiger Hill at Fraserburgh beach when all of a sudden he and a friend Isla Sim got caught in a rip tide and they were both swept out to sea.
The donation was in appreciation for: 'the excellent work in saving me and Isla. We are ever so grateful.'
Scott, a non swimmer said that they were just a bunch of kids in the first week of the summer holidays having a great time in fantastic weather in the sea at the beach.
He’d been playing around with his pals in the water for some time, and had been staying quite close to the shore. The water only came up to his waist when he and two others found themselves trapped and being pulled out to sea by a powerful rip tide.
Before he knew it, the tremendously strong current had dragged him, his friend Isla and another friend out of their depths, and out to sea. Scott couldn’t keep his head above the water and kept sinking. The sea was over his head. He remembers looking up and furiously trying to reach the surface but despite desperately flapping his arms and legs, he couldn’t make it and kept going under.
Cold and fatigue were taking a hold as he fought for every breath but he was swallowing too much water. He realised that he was struggling for his life and felt himself losing consciousness and passed out under several feet of water within sight of Tiger Hill.
Scott said that he had no memory of what happened next. His next memory was only the faintest of recollections as he remembers coming round for a few brief seconds in a strange place and wondering where he was.
He wasn’t in the water, and he could breathe, he felt terrible but he was safe. He was indeed lying on the floor of the lifeboat station, but didn’t realise it at the time. He was safe, and so was Isla.
And so was the other friend who had been dragged out to sea. She had managed to escape the current and was able to make it back to the shore herself, and she was safe as well.
Covered in blankets, Scott and Isla were each surrounded by paramedics and the lifeboat crew who minutes earlier had plucked them from the sea. The paramedics were furiously trying to revive the two young casualties and once they got them awake, they tried to keep them awake.
Freezing cold, hypothermic, trembling, shivering and coughing up what seemed like gallons of sea water the youngsters lapsed in and out of consciousness.
Scott and Isla had been dragged from the water by the lifeboat crew and not a moment too soon.
Everyone agreed that it was one of the cases where every second had counted once the alarm had been raised.
And they were very lucky.
One of their young friends on the shore had seen how much trouble they were in and had immediately phoned the coastguard.
Right away the coastguard ordered an immediate launch of Fraserburgh Lifeboat
Fraserburgh Lifeboat Coxswain Mechanic Vic Sutherland remembers the day in great detail as if it were yesterday.
Vic said: 'I was just about to start my annual leave that afternoon to go on holiday and had almost finished handing over to the covering mechanic. Luckily a few of the volunteer crew had been into the station that afternoon and were still there or not far away.'
So when the Coastguard set off the pagers ordering an immediate launch, there were more than enough crew in the immediate vicinity and we were able to man the boat right away and leave immediately.'
All thoughts of the holiday had gone out of the window as Vic and his crew had jumped into action.
“We were very lucky that the girl on the beach who’d phoned the Coastguard had given us clear directions of where her friends were in difficulty so we headed right to that spot
We went straight across the bay toward Tiger Hill and luckily found them floating in the water right away. We got the Isla out of the water first and then Scott.
They were both unconscious and the crew laid them on the deck and immediately began to revive them .
We stayed at the beach for a while checking that there was no one else in the water. Once it had been confirmed by the police on the shore that everyone was accounted for on the beach and there was no one left in the water as we raced back to the station.
It seemed a lot longer but we were told later that we’d only taken 15 minutes from launching the lifeboat and leaving the station to picking up the two youngsters and taking them back.
We stretchered them on shore to the lifeboat station where the paramedics gave assistance and took over.
Both youngsters had mild hypothermia and we covered them in blankets until their temperature got back to normal and they could be transferred to hospital.
When they left in the ambulance we were still very concerned about their condition but later that evening we got the news that they were both okay and safe and well and were going to make a full recovery.
Its special moments like that that make all the training and commitment by everyone associated with the lifeboat worthwhile.'
'We made a difference that day and were able to return two youngsters to their families'.
We’re pleased to say that Scott and Isla made speedy recoveries after that. So much so that they were able to come down to the station the next day to thank their rescuers personally and they looked as right as rain showing no signs of the ordeal they’d been through the day before.
“I did taste salt in my mouth for weeks afterwards though” laughed Scott.
“Seriously though I owe Vic and these guys everything. If it hadn’t been for them and the RNLI we wouldn’t be here today.”
“It was really good meeting Scott today and we had a great catch up about various things that happened that day of the rescue.” Vic said “I was able to tell Scott a lot of things that he hadn’t heard before about what happened before and after we pulled him from the water, and he told me a few things about what he remembered. It was good being able to tell him things from our viewpoint and hearing about the things he remembered from his point of view.”
Scott raised the money by doing odd jobs over the previous few weeks and the money will go towards helping us save more lives at sea.
His donation is a tremendous gesture and very much appreciated by everyone at the Fraserburgh Lifeboat Station.
Isla’s father Gary also handed over a cheque on behalf of the North of Scotland Tartan Army several months after the rescue.
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.