Jetski Drama As Family Rescued By Holyhead RNLI
A potential tragedy at sea was averted yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 3 August) when Holyhead RNLI were called to a family of jetskiers in trouble off the Anglesey coast.
The ‘dynamic and developing’ situation had started with an initial alert from HM Coastguard, citing a single jetski in the Skerries lagoon area, broken down and suffering steering problems, shortly before 2pm.
Volunteer crew were quickly launching the all-weather lifeboat Christopher Pearce, and making their way out of the inner harbour, when information was received that there were in fact two jetskis; one of which was broken down with two people on board, and a second had another two people on board, and was still running but running low on fuel. Both were drifting north of the Skerries.
After launching, the Severn-class lifeboat headed quickly towards the given location, but en route they were informed that one of the jetskis was now sinking, and two persons were in the water.
The female who made the call was extremely distressed, and so radio communications were set to try and pinpoint an exact location. In the casualty’s heightened state of anxiety, it was at first thought the location in question might actually be South Stack, but this was soon cleared up, and the lifeboat carried on at full speed towards the stricken jetskiers.
Critical information was then received that one of the jetskis had now sunk, and three people were on board the remaining jetski, and one person was in the water.
The casualties were soon located approximately two miles north of the Skerries. On arrival at the scene, the lifeboat crew found one jetski almost totally submerged, with only its bow protruding from the water. A woman and two young children were on board the second craft, and a man was clinging to the stern.
The crew were informed that one of the children had only just come out of a cast for a broken leg, and the man who was clinging onto the jetski was extremely fatigued.
All four casualties were immediately taken to the safety of the all-weather lifeboat. Approximately four minutes later, the HM Coastguard helicopter arrived at the location to assist. The lifeboat volunteers assured the helicopter crew that the situation was under control, and as the helicopter was required to attend an incident elsewhere, they then left the scene.
The daughter-craft of the all-weather lifeboat, the Y-boat, was launched to enable the retrieval of both jetskis, and to establish a tow in the safest way possible. Two volunteer lifeboat crew on board the Y-boat managed to retrieve the sunken jetski, attach it to the second, and then began a punishing trip back through choppy seas around Carmel Head.
At this point, just after 3.15pm, the crew decided to request the launch of the D-class inshore lifeboat Mary and Archie Hooper to assist with transferring the casualties back to the Sandy Beach area of Llanfwrog where they had come from. All four casualties were being constantly monitored by the casualty-care trained crew on board the lifeboat, as they were suffering from seasickness and shock.
HM Coastguard asked if any assistance was required from the local cliff rescue team, but due to the number of incidents in the area, it was decided to refuse the request in case they were needed elsewhere.
All casualties were safely delivered back to shore, and the jetskis were also taken to safety.
Holyhead coxswain Tony Price said the fact that the jetskiers were wearing the correct lifebjackets and were carrying a VHF radio probably saved their lives:
‘Without the correct means of calling for help, this situation would likely have ended in tragedy. The lady involved kept calm enough to call for assistance as soon as she could, and then Holyhead Coastguard got us on the water very quickly. We’re just glad all four people involved were saved, as the outcome to this situation could have been very different.’
‘It was a fantastic effort from all those involved, including the helicopter team. It’s always very reassuring to hear them approach – but on this occasion we were first on scene and able to evacuate the casualties very quickly onto our lifeboat.’
After taking the casualties back to shore, and the jetskis safely offloaded, the RNLI crews headed back to wash down all lifeboats and were prepared for any further calls by 5.30pm.
For any further information, please contact Vicki Owens, Holyhead RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07531 681409, or email [email protected]
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
Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries