South Wales RNLI lifeboats launch in freezing fog to search for missing fishing boats

Port Talbot’s inshore D-class lifeboat and an all-weather lifeboat from The Mumbles were launched on Sunday to help locate two fishing vessels lost in thick fog. 


Port Talbot lifeboat at sea

Photo: RNLI

The vessels had set off earlier in the day to take part in a fishing competition, when conditions were much more favourable. Conditions grew much worse during the day and the vessels were unable to find their way to shore. The Coastguard was called and the RNLI requested to assist. 

The Mumbles all-weather lifeboat was able to use its radar to locate the first vessel just off Morfa beach. The three occupants on board were extremely cold. The second boat with two people on board was located half a mile from the entrance to the River Afon.

Mel Cooper, Lifeboat Press Officer at Port Talbot said:

‘The Mumbles ALB brought the boats closer to the shore and Port Talbot lifeboat was standing by to pick up the tow and return the boats to the slipway. We were just pleased to be able to return them to safety. The conditions can only be described as horrendous. The fog was so thick, we were not able to see the sand from the railings of the lifeboat station. 

‘This was great teamwork between two stations and I know all those assisted were extremely grateful, as being out there and not able to see in front of you is a frightening experience. This really does go to show how quickly conditions can change. Those we assisted did exactly the right thing in calling 999 and asking for assistance from the Coastguard when they knew they required help.’

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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.

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