Clacton RNLI’s immediate response saves a life
Just after 9.00am on Saturday 24 July, as three members of the crew were arriving at Clacton’s lifeboat station, they noticed a person on the beach waving frantically for help, help that was needed for someone washed onto the rocks just off the shoreline.
Dropping their bikes off at the station, the crew members knew that time was of the essence, so immediately headed to the crew room and changed into their lifesaving and protective RNLI suits, heading directly to the location just 100 yards away in overcast and moderate sea conditions.
One crew member swam around the groyne of dangerous and sharp rocks to gain better access to the casualty, whilst another waded on the other side and then climbed onto the rocks to get closer. The casualty was a member of a local swimming group and whilst swimming in the area was swept onto the rocks by a strong wave.
With the tide rising fast, and concern for the casualty who was complaining of a loss of feeling down the left-hand side of their body, the team worked quickly to assess the situation and decided to call for a rescue basket, which the third crew member went to get. This would allow the crew to immobilise the casualty and enable them to raise the basket higher onto the rocks given the rising tide and waves.
Whilst awaiting the arrival of the basket, the crew, aided by bystanders on the beach, set up a protective chain of people between the sea and the casualty, bracing themselves in time with the rough waves coming into the shore to protect the casualty, who remained calm despite sustaining many cuts, abrasions and bruising when thrown against the rocks.
Shortly after, additional volunteer crew members arrived (along with the launch of the D-Class ILB inshore lifeboat to the scene) with the rescue basket, which was quickly moved into position and the casualty placed inside and immobilised. Other members of the swimming group informed the crew that the casualty had suffered a stroke seven years ago and was using swimming as a form of rehabilitation.
The crew used their collective knowledge, communications, and organisational skills to plan and execute the extraction of the casualty, often having to move command from one crew member to another due to the ever-changing situation in and around the rocks.
The crew maneuvered the casualty in the basket down the rocks and decided to proceed carrying the casualty by hand rather than risking trying to navigate the waters near the rocks with their D-Class ILB (inshore lifeboat) Damar’s Pride carrying the casualty to the lifeboat trailer by foot instead.
Ambulances from the East of England service were on scene, and the casualty once back to the shoreline was handed to the care of these crews for further assessment, treatment, and onward travel by road to a local hospital.
RNLI spokesperson Mark Walsham, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer commented:
'We hope the casualty makes a full recovery from this ordeal. The fact that our volunteer crew were able to respond almost immediately to the dangerous situation with a rapidly rising tide and strong waves certainly helped with the positive outcome, which could have been much worse. Using their expert local knowledge, communication, and teamwork they helped to ensure the rescue was made swiftly and with care.
'This is testament to the commitment, training, and high standards of the crew.
'We would also like to thank the three bystanders who helped and their support and quick thinking helped us a great deal – thank you.
'Should anyone see or find themselves in trouble, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.'
The lifeboat crew were then stood down returning to the lifeboat station where the lifeboat was cleaned, re-fuelled and checked before going back into service by 10.00am.
RNLI Media contacts
For more information please contact Mark Walsham, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.