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Two shouts in quick succession for Looe RNLI volunteers

Lifeboats News Release

Looe RNLI volunteer crew were launching the charity’s Altantic 85 to go to the aid of two kayakers in difficulties off Downderry, this afternoon, when a report of a possible kite surfer in trouble off Looe island was received

Looe RNLI crew pagers sounded at 3.45 pm this afternoon, Thursday 22 April 2022, after Falmouth Coastguard Operations Centre received multiple 999 calls reporting two kayakers in difficulties off Downderry. Within 10 minutes the charity’s Atlantic 85, Sheila and Dennis Tongue II, helmed by Dan Margetts, with crew Matt Jaycock, Goron Jones and Toby Bray was punching through 3 – 5 ft waves as the inshore lifeboat headed out into Looe bay towards Downderry. Arriving on scene our crew found two female casualties, clinging onto one of the kayaks, the other kayak was being blown downwind by strong force 4 – 5 winds. Both casualties were taken on board the Atlantic 85, where two of the crew administered casualty care, whilst the other crew recovered the kayaks. Both casualties were visibly cold and fatigued and with the risk of water ingestion, a decision was taken to return to Looe as quickly as possible, requesting an ambulance to meet them at the lifeboat station.

On arrival in Looe the casualties were taken into the lifeboat station and our crew were relieved to see their condition improving as they warmed up. The casualties were handed into the care of the ambulance paramedic

Describing the incident volunteer helms Toby Bray and Dan Margetts said that within a few minutes of leaving Downderry beach the kayakers had toppled out of their kayaks. Even though they were wearing buoyancy aids, the water was so cold that they were unable to use their mobile phone to call for help. They had been clinging onto each kayak for 10 to 15 minutes and struggling to hold on. They abandoned one kayak and stayed together clinging onto the other kayak. On the way back to Looe the casualties told the crew they could not have held onto the kayak for much longer. Our crew say the water at this time of year is still very cold and if they had arrived on scene any later the outcome could have been far worse.

Head launcher was Brian Bowdler, with tractor driver Eric Candy, shore crew Nick Pope and Paul Barley.

Shortly after launch, a member of the public arrived at the station asking if the lifeboat was going to the aid of a kite surfer. He had lost his kite in the strong winds at Seaton and had last seen it off Looe Island. At the same time, Falmouth coastguards contacted the station, as they were receiving reports of a possible kite surfer in trouble, Our Lifeboat operations manager, Dave Haines with Paul Barley and Simon Rawe launched the charity’s D Class Ollie Naismith crewed by Aaron Rix, Nathaniel Rothwell and Victoria Thomas to investigate. Leaving Looe at 4.12 pm the D Class headed towards Looe Island where the crew recovered the kite, before returning to station

The strong easterly winds were a feature in both of today’s shouts in Looe. This afternoon RNLI lifeguards in Cornwall have issued a safety warning as these strong easterly winds are forecasted to increase in strength on Friday through to Saturday. This means that beaches along the south coast - which are usually sheltered from the prevailing winds - are experiencing dangerous conditions. Please think twice and consider the risk before carrying out any sea-based activities. This includes swimming, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and even coastal walking. The strong winds will also mean those kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding on any part of our coastline should take extra care as they can easily be carried out to sea.


Notes to editors


· Looe RNLI Atlantic 85 Sheila and Dennis Tongue II returning to Looe with the casualties and kayaks
Photo credit RNLI / Ian Foster

· Looe RNLI D Class Ollie Naismith returning to Looe with the recovered kite
Photo credit RNLI / Ian Foster


· Re-established as an inshore lifeboat station in 1992, Looe RNLI operate two inshore lifeboats
An Atlantic 85 Sheila and Dennis Tongue II and a D Class Ollie Naismith

· Looe RNLI have recently launched the Looe Lifeboat Appeal – Ollie Naismith II to raise £78,000 for a replacement D Class inshore lifeboat Ollie Naismith II

· For further information on Looe RNLI Lifeboats please visit our website

· Looe RNLI Facebook page

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Ian Foster, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer for Looe Lifeboat Station, on 07902 753228 or [email protected] or [email protected]

or Amy Caldwell, RNLI Regional Media Manager, on 07920 818807 or [email protected]

Alternatively you can contact the RNLI Duty Press Officer on 01202 336789.

Looe RNLI Atlantic 85 Sheila and Dennis Tongue II returning to Looe with the casualties and kayaks

RNLI/Ian Foster

Looe RNLI Atlantic 85 Sheila and Dennis Tongue II returning to Looe with the casualties and kayaks
RNLI D Class Ollie Naismith returning to Looe with the recovered kite

RNLI/Ian Foster

Looe RNLI D Class Ollie Naismith returning to Looe with the recovered kite

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.