Swanage lifeboat launches into rough seas to search for missing person

Lifeboats News Release

Not long after a windy training evening as storm Dudley swept along the coast, Swanage's Shannon class lifeboat was requested by the UK Coastguard to assist with the search for a missing person.

Swanage all-weather lifeboat being recovered at night.

RNLI/Andy Redout

Swanage all-weather lifeboat being recovered at night.
A missing person had last been reported in the vicinity of Hengistbury Head. Volunteer UK Coastguard teams were tasked to search the cliff line and the lifeboat was asked to search, as close to the shoreline as practical, from Southbourne beach around Hengistbury Head and along to the entrance of Christchurch Harbour.

The lifeboat launched, the crew strapped into their shock absorbing seats, and made good progress down sea in gale-force winds. When on scene, two crew members rigged searchlights on deck and the crew performed a search as the lifeboat headed slowly parallel to the shore towards the headland.

Search conditions were challenging due to shallow waters and the breaking seas meaning that visibility was compromised. As the lifeboat continued to pick its way towards Christchurch entrance, the volunteer crew from Mudeford lifeboat launched to search the harbour. With nothing found, Swanage lifeboat was asked to step out a short distance and search back to Southbourne in deeper water, while Mudeford lifeboat searched closer inshore to the northeast of Hengistbury Head.

Still with nothing found, the UK Coastguard called off the sea search and both lifeboats were stood down.

The Swanage lifeboat returned to station to be refuelled, washed down and was ready for further service not long after midnight.

With gale force winds forecast over the coming days, people are advised to stay a safe distance away from the shoreline.

Notes to Editors

  • Photograph of Swanage lifeboat being recovered at night. Credit Andy Redout

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For more information please telephone Becky Mack, Swanage RNLI Volunteer Press Officer on 07812 558487 or at [email protected]

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