Trearddur Bay lifeboat launch in heavy seas
At 7.20pm the volunteer crew were paged by the coastguard following an emergency call from a surfer whose friends had got into difficulty.
With a big swell compounded by the close vicinity of offshore rocks and the headland, Lee attempted to position the boat to make a run for the casualty whilst trying to avoid being broadsided by the heavy conditions. Leigh McCann, one of the crew on the shout said, ‘we spotted the surfer, a young female, as she was drifting quickly towards the rocks and getting hit by steep breaking waves, there was very little room for manoeuvre’.
Realising that they had only one chance to get to her before she was too close to the headland Lee turned the boat into sea and heading through the breaking swell bore down on the casualty as two of the crew reached overboard and pulled her into the boat.
Lee added later, ‘we had pretty much our most experienced crew on board, three helms and the lifeboat training officer and I think in my twenty years on the crew at Trearddur Bay that was possibly the most touch and go shout I have been on.’ Daf Griffiths added, ‘we knew that we had only one chance to get her with the size of the waves hitting the headland, had we failed I don’t like to think what could have happened, to her or us! Lee showed exceptional boat handling skills, it would have been impossible to make a second run.’
Having got the casualty safely on board, the volunteers had one more tricky task to negotiate. As a normal recovery onto the trailer was not possible, they had to perform a net recovery which involves driving the boat into the trailer on the back of a wave which is then ‘captured’ by a collapsing net.
The stations training co-ordinator, Mike Doran commented that, ‘under the most challenging conditions most of us have experienced on a shout, we succeeded in our task which is testament to all of the hard work put into training by everyone, it was a really great team effort.’
Lifeboat operations manager, Paul Moffett, added ‘I watched it all through the station’s binoculars, it was an incredible rescue and I have to say I am very proud of the boys, they did a terrific job and saved the life of a young lady.’
The RNLI would like to remind the public that stormy seas are unpredictable - big waves can sweep you off your feet (or bike) and the backwash could sweep you out to sea. Please stay back, stay high, stay dry.
· Take care if walking near cliffs - know your route and keep dogs on a lead
· Check tide times daily
· Take a full-charged phone
· If going afloat, always wear a lifejacket or other personal flotation device and take a means of calling for help
· Check your equipment is in good working order
· Be aware of the conditions and your capabilities and only enter the water if it is safe to do so
· In an emergency call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard
Notes to editors
Attached are photos and video of last night's rescue. Please credit Trearddur Bay RNLI.
RNLI media contact
For more information contact Eleri Roberts, RNLI Regional Media Officer on 07771 941390 or email Eleri_Roberts@rnli.org.uk. Alternatively contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.
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.