Wells RNLI in multi-agency call to save man drifting out to sea

Lifeboats News Release

On Monday 19 July at 5.24pm, HM Coastguard paged Wells D-class lifeboat to assist a man who had been reported clinging to the last buoy in the channel at Burnham Overy as the tide ebbed.

Volunteer crew of three racing across the sea in D Class lifeboat

RNLI/Nathan Williams

The volunteer crew of three launched outside Wells boathouse at 5.24pm and proceeded with haste towards Burnham Overy. Wells and Hunstanton Coastguard teams and Hunstanton hovercraft were also paged.

In the meantime, the first informant decided to go to the assistance of the man struggling in the water. They soon realised they too were in danger, but fortunately managed to make it to a spit of sand offshore where they could stand. Another member of the public entered the water to assist, but they also realised it was futile and returned to the safety of the shore.

The inshore lifeboat arrived on scene at 5.38pm and quickly located the man clinging to the last buoy in the outer harbour before the open sea, and the other person in the water up to their waist. Both people were rescued by the volunteer crew and transferred to the shore, safely into the care of the local Coastguard team. Although both people were uninjured, the swimmer was exhausted at the time of being rescued.

The inshore lifeboat was released at 5.55pm and returned to the lifeboat station. It was ashore at 6.08pm and was refuelled and back on service again at 6.45pm.

RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, Chris Hardy, said 'This was a very serious incident and I am very relieved that the volunteer crew responded swiftly to save the man’s life.

'It isn't safe to swim in the channel on an ebbing tide; the current can be extremely strong and even the best of swimmers can find themselves in danger.

'If people see someone in difficulty we urge them not to enter the water to attempt to rescue them, instead they should shout for a lifeguard if there is one nearby, or call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.'

For advice on how to safe this summer, please visit: https://rnli.org/safety and https://rnli.org/safety/respect-the-water

RNLI Media contacts

For more information please contact Justine Sykes, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on: 07710 510516, email: juscsykes@gmail.com

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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