Three lifeboats and helicopter respond to missing swimmer off Margate
Three lifeboats, shore-based coastguards and the coastguard helicopter from Lydd have been in action following a report of a missing swimmer off the north Kent coast.
UK Coastguard was contacted around 6pm today (Sunday 13 September) by persons ashore expressing concern for a friend who had gone swimming off Westgate-on-Sea around two miles west of Margate. They had lost sight of him and were concerned for his safety.
Margate’s RNLI inshore lifeboat was tasked to assist along with Margate coastguard rescue team (CRT) and the coastguard rescue helicopter from Lydd Airport. Whitstable RNLI lifeboat was also launched to assist in the search allowing for the tidal drift to the west.
Once on scene, Margate CRT made contact with the first informants who confirmed that the person’s clothing and mobile phone had been located and that he had been missing for an hour. The incident was scaled up and Margate’s RNLI all-weather lifeboat was tasked to provide additional search capabilities with the onset of failing light.
The CRT commenced a shoreline search and guided by a member of the public soon located the casualty on the promenade in a nearby bay. The casualty was cold and in a distressed and disoriented state and being a visitor to the area had soon lost contact with his friends. Coastguard officers checked on his welfare and provided casualty care assisted by officers from Kent Police before he was reunited with the rest of the group whereupon safety advice was passed on. All search units were stood down and released to return to station.
Peter Barker, Deputy Launching Authority, Margate RNLI said: 'This could potentially have developed into a major search incident that was avoided thanks to the local coastguard team and alert members of the public. We may be enjoying an ‘Indian summer’ but the sea becomes increasingly cold this time of year and we urge people to exercise extreme caution if taking a dip – and to try and avoid swimming on their own but maintaining contact with people ashore.'
RNLI Media contacts
• Peter Barker, RNLI Margate Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer 07974 064304 firstname.lastname@example.org
• Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (South East), 0207 6207416, 07786 668825 email@example.com
• For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789
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.