Whitstable RNLI Lifeboat joins search for missing swimmer
The Whitstable Atlantic 85 lifeboat Lewisco was launched at just after 3.40pm on Sunday afternoon to assist in the search for a swimmer reported as missing off Harty Ferry in The Swale.
Trainee helmsman Liam Sidders said “We arrived 'on scene' and immediately commenced an initial search of the area. Conditions were flat calm but with hazy skies and failing light”.
“A group of people on shore on the Faversham side of Harty Ferry confirmed they had seen a swimmer who had subsequently disappeared under the water”.
“As the tide was still flooding we searched the area to the west for 1-mile then as the tide turned continued the search to the east and around the entrance to Faversham Creek”.
The Sheerness D Class inshore lifeboat joined the search as did the Coastguard helicopter from Lydd whilst the Herne Bay and Sheppey Coastguard Rescue Teams searched the shoreline on either side of The Swale”.
“After searching for around two and a half hours and with no trace of the casualty we were released from the incident to return to station to refuel, crew change and stand by at immediate readiness to re-launch if required to do so. The Sheerness inshore lifeboat also returned to station”.
The Whitstable lifeboat was launched again at 2.03 on Monday afternoon to assist other emergency services who had located a body in the search area. The lifeboat stood by as the casualty was recovered by Kent Fire and Rescue and coastguard teams, following which the lifeboat returned to station.
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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.