Daughter thanks RNLI for rescue that saved her dad after stroke at sea
This Father’s Day, Morgan Johnson has thanked the RNLI for helping to save her dad’s life after he suffered a stroke at sea.
In what seemed like a routine voyage in their 42ft yacht, experienced sailor Morgan and dad Patrick were sailing from Bangor in Northern Ireland to Aberdaron in Wales when Patrick fell ill and needed urgent medical assistance.
Speaking publicly for the first time about the 2019 rescue, Morgan said: ‘Dad woke me about 4am, I could see we were off course, and he seemed a little confused. I didn’t really know if he’d taken a fall and got concussion or maybe he’d just woken up, so I sent him down below deck.
‘I soon got the boat back on course and checked on dad, he still seemed confused and wasn’t making much sense.
‘I called my mum initially, thinking maybe he’d missed taking some medication. I’ve got first aid training and recognised a few signs that something might be wrong. He couldn’t lift his legs up onto the seat and couldn’t raise his arms either – I knew I had to do something.
‘I went up on deck to make a Mayday distress call to the Coastguard to inform them we needed some help – and fast.’
The RNLI volunteers from Porthdinllaen were requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat shortly after 5am and with the calm conditions, were soon with Morgan and her father. The Coastguard helicopter had also been requested ready to assist with medical care.
‘Time goes slowly when you are waiting and it seemed a long time before the lifeboat arrived, although in reality, they were with us just 15 minutes after launching,’ said Morgan.
‘A crew member came onboard, I remember her name was Mali and she was just brilliant - calm, kind, caring and just looking after dad so well.
‘The RNLI crew decided dad needed to be evacuated direct to hospital so transferred him onto the lifeboat before a rescue helicopter airlifted him.
‘I was offered to go but I knew dad would want me to ensure the boat got back to a point of safety.
‘Once back on land, the RNLI volunteers certainly went above and beyond. From cups of tea, a place to stay, lifts to the hospital and even just a reassuring hug – the care they gave really went beyond the rescue.
Patrick said: ‘I don’t really remember much about the day, it’s all a bit of a blur. I’m still getting better slowly and hope I’ll be sailing again someday with Morgan.
Porthdinllaen RNLI volunteer Mali said: ‘In situations like this, every second is critical, and all this happened within the golden hour.
‘Morgan acted quickly and made the call to the Coastguards meaning Patrick could get the right medical attention he needed.
‘I’m so glad that they’re both able to celebrate Father’s Day together this year – it could have been a very different story of course.’
Morgan added: ‘It’s good to make the most of the opportunities we have together as a family. It’s nice to have a memory from that day, but even nicer to be able to say thank you to those that helped save dad.’
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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 over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, 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.