RNLI lifesavers reunite with kayaker they rescued as charity issues Mayday call

Lifeboats News Release

Last year, RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew brought 1,485 people to safety – a 30% increase on the previous year.

Clogherhead RNLI with rescued kayaker Andrzej Kolobius and wife Aneta and daughter Nicola

RNLI/Thos Caffrey

Clogherhead RNLI with rescued kayaker Andrzej Kolobius and wife Aneta and daughter Nicola

To help launch this year’s Mayday Mile fundraiser for the RNLI, a lone kayaker who got into difficulty off Clogherhead in county Louth last month, returned to visit the lifeboat crew who saved his life when he capsized in a strong current and could not get to safety. Kayaker Andrzej Kolobius met with his rescuers at Clogherhead RNLI lifeboat station to say thank you in person and introduce the volunteer crew to his wife Aneta and daughter Nicola.

Last year, lifeboat crews in Ireland launched 1,078 times, bringing 1,485 people to safety, an increase of 30% on the previous year’s lifeboat callouts. With demand for its lifesaving services at a high, the charity is putting out its own ‘Mayday’ call, urging the public to take part in the RNLI’s Mayday Mile, to raise essential funds to provide vital training and equipment to keep their lifesavers safe, while they save others.

Whether you choose to walk, jog, hop or skip, the Mayday Mile challenges people to cover a distance in any way they like between Saturday 1st and Monday 31st May, whilst raising vital funds for RNLI lifesavers so that they can continue to keep people safe at sea.

Experienced kayaker Andrzej Kolobius, a Polish national living in county Monaghan for many years, wanted to come and visit his rescuers with his family, wife Aneta and daughter Nicola (8), to thank them in person after they saved his life last month. An experienced kayaker, Andrzej had no idea when he took to the water that morning that he would need to be rescued. He still has no idea who raised the alarm but is grateful they did and that he was able to be reunited with his family.

Commenting after meeting his rescuers Andrzej said, ‘I can never express how thankful I am to the lifeboat crew that rescued me. Not just for me but for my wife and daughter too. I am that person who never thought they would need to be rescued. I am an experienced kayaker and had my drysuit and lifejacket on, but I had no idea that I would not be able to get back on my kayak. I was close to the headland, but I was getting battered and was exhausted and could only manage to hang on to the kayak and hope help would come. I can never thank my rescuers enough and I’m delighted to be able to help the RNLI launch their Mayday Mile appeal.’

Clogherhead RNLI mechanic and crewmember Barry Sharkey added,This summer we will no doubt see people get into danger on the water while enjoying a day out with their family or friends. Despite what you may think, it’s so easy to get into trouble. It can happen to anyone, as Andrzej has shown. That’s why we’re calling on our supporters to sign up for their own Mayday Mile, to help give us and our fellow lifesavers everything we need to continue to keep people safe this summer and beyond.’

‘Andrzej had all the correct equipment which helped keep him afloat and warm until we arrived. The fast response from the time the Coast Guard raised the alarm to us rescuing him, made the difference. Seeing him with Aneta and Nicola at the station, brings it home to us that behind every rescue is a family. We are so grateful for the support we receive.’

All funds raised through the Mayday Mile will give RNLI lifesavers the training, equipment, and kit that they need to rescue others and come home safe themselves.

The Mayday Mile will be running from Saturday 1 May to Monday 31 May. Sign up and find out more at RNLI.org/SupportMayday today.

ENDS

RNLI media contacts

For information please contact Niamh Stephenson, RNLI Regional Media Manager Tel: 087 1254 124 email: [email protected] or Nuala McAloon, RNLI Regional Media Officer Tel: 087 648 3547 email: [email protected]

Notes to Editor:

Photo caption Clogherhead RNLI with rescued kayaker and his family: Lisa Levins, James Kirk, Sean Reynolds, Aneta Kolobius Nicola Kolobius (8), Andrzej Kolobius Kevin O’Rourke, Coxswain Gerald Sharkey, Mechanic Barry Sharkey, Carol Holcroft and Martin McKenna. RNLI.org/SupportMayday

Photo caption: Rescued kayaker Andrzej Kolobius with his wife Aneta and daughter Nicola (8) help the RNLI launch the Mayday Mile at Clogherhead RNLI. RNLI.org/SupportMayday

How to stay safe this summer:

  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float.
  • In an emergency dial 112 or 999 and ask for the Coast Guard.

RNLI online:

For more information, please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the RNLI News Centre.

Rescued kayaker Andrzej Kolobius and wife Aneta and daughter Nicola

RNLI/Thos Caffrey

Rescued kayaker Andrzej Kolobius and wife Aneta and daughter Nicola
Rescued kayaker Andrzej Kolobius

RNLI/Thos Caffrey

Rescued kayaker Andrzej Kolobius

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.