Eastbourne lifeboat called out to casualty in the water

Lifeboats Statement

At 2.10pm this afternoon the RNLI Eastbourne inshore lifeboat, along with HM Coastguard Helicopter Rescue 163 were launched following a report of a person in the water at Birling Gap, East Sussex.

RNLI/Martin Fish

Stock image of Eastbourne D Class Inshore Lifeboat.

Whilst manoeuvring to effect the rescue the D Class capsized and all three volunteer crew on board went into the water. The Newhaven and Eastbourne All-weather lifeboats were launched to assist along with an additional HM Coastguard helicopter Rescue 175.

We are pleased to say that all three members of crew were quickly recovered from the water and returned to Eastbourne Lifeboat station on board the All-weather lifeboat. None required medical assistance. The casualty was also recovered and it is believed they did not sustain any injury.

All three members of the Eastbourne crew are highly experienced, and their families have been informed that they are all well. At this stage we can not confirm what caused the lifeboat to capsize, although it is believed to be due to surf conditions. As is normal with these type of events a review will be conducted to establish what led to the capsize.

RNLI Lifesaving Manager Glen Mallen said: ‘We are pleased that everyone involved in this rescue is now safe and well. On occasions RNLI volunteers risk their lives to save others at sea and the charity makes sure that all its crew members receive the right equipment and training to deal with anything the sea might throw at them.’

The Eastbourne inshore lifeboat is being recovered and a damage assessment undertaken. A replacement inshore lifeboat will be on station soon whilst its condition is assessed. In the meantime, cover will be provided by Eastbourne’s flanking stations.

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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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