Medivac casualty returns to Appledore RNLI to thank the volunteer crew.

Lifeboats News Release

On Friday 23rd October a lady medevac’d from Lundy Island returned to Appledore RNLI to personally thank the volunteer crew who rescued her back in February 2018.

Appledore RNLI / crew member Alex Hall.

Maureen Anderson returns to Appledore RNLI to thank the crew who rescued her after she broke her Femur whilst staying on Lundy. Left to right: Gary Stanbury, Maureen Anderson, Simon McCarthy, Natalie Simmons, Carl Chessum, Owen Atkinson.

The incident happened the afternoon of Saturday 10th February 2018 when Maureen Anderson broke her left femur after falling down about six stairs at Castle Keep, Lundy.

At 4.45 pm the coastguard requested help from Appledore RNLI, asking if the all-weather lifeboat could be used to medically evacuate a lady with a suspected broken femur. The coastguard rescue helicopter had been tasked but take off was delayed due to local weather conditions. Within ten minutes of the original request, the lifeboat was on its way to Lundy battling a Force 8 gale with 34-40 knot westerly winds through very rough seas with 4-6 metre swells, and visibility down to less than 100 metres in places. It arrived at Lundy at 6 pm, with the helicopter arriving soon after. However, unfortunately the helicopter could not land on the island, nor conduct winching operations, due to the thick fog and strong wind conditions. It was therefore stood down and returned to base.

The lifeboat landed three casualty care crew members, Owen Atkinson, Simon McCarthy and Natalie Simmons, ashore. The casualty was still at the base of the stairs in the cottage, attended by the island’s first responders. The crew assisted in the treatment of the casualty and prepared her for her journey down the island and onto the lifeboat for a rough ride back to the mainland. Due to the low water conditions at Appledore at the expected time of arrival, it was decided to take her to Ilfracombe arriving there at 10.25 pm, where she was landed alongside in the harbour and transferred to a waiting ambulance. The lifeboat then returned to Appledore arriving on the mooring at 12:45 am after a gruelling eight hour rescue.

This would have been a fairly unpleasant journey for anyone, but with a broken femur, must have been particularly uncomfortable.

After a spell in North Devon District Hospital, Barnstaple, then hospital in Derby, it has taken some 18-24 months to achieve her current mobility. Unfortunately she still finds it difficult to walk any great distance and uses a single crutch, with the leg and hip still painful in damp and cold weather.

On their way back to Derbyshire from a short holiday in the Isles of Scilly, Maureen, together with her daughter and a friend, made a detour to Appledore Lifeboat Station where she said a personal thank you to five of the lifeboat crew who came to her rescue on that fateful day.

She expressed enormous gratitude to the crew for all their efforts in caring for her and bringing her safely back from Lundy Island. She spent an hour and half at the station chatting with the crew and, whilst maintaining two metre distancing, posed with the crew for photos.

All weather lifeboat crew on this incident: Gary Stanbury (Coxswain), Owen Atkinson (Mechanic), Jeff Pavitt, Simon McCarthy, Robbie Ward, Natalie Simmons, Carl Chessum

Shore Crew: Richard Withey (Head Launcher), Andrew Short (Tractor Driver), Lucy Lo-Vel

Launch Authority: Tony Merrill

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 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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