Holyhead RNLI Rescue Sailors Thrown Overboard

Lifeguards News Release

The busy summer holiday period started in dramatic form today (Saturday 16 July) for Holyhead RNLI crew, when two sailors were thrown overboard after losing control of their vessel.

RNLI/Vicki Owens

Holyhead's inshore lifeboat heading off to the rescue on Saturday afternoon

Pagers sounded just after 1.30pm, asking for the launch of the charity’s D-class lifeboat, to a location just past Holyhead Breakwater, where a speedboat, an 18-ft dory, was circling at speed near the two casualties, one male and one female, who were in the water. The Holyhead volunteer coastguard team had been called, and were monitoring the scene from the breakwater.

The inshore lifeboat Mary and Archie Hooper launched within minutes, and headed straight to the scene.

On arriving at the scene, it was found both sailors had been taken aboard a nearby vessel for safety. Both casualties were immediately assessed by a casualty care-trained volunteer lifeboat crewman. The male casualty was in considerable pain, and the launch of the all-weather lifeboat, which carries pain relief and other casualty care equipment, was requested to assist.

Shortly afterwards, the Severn-class lifeboat Christopher Pearce arrived at the scene. Both casualties were then taken aboard to be treated. The male casualty had lacerations to his upper right leg, and a suspected broken lower leg. He was given pain relief, and his wounds were dressed by another trained lifeboat crew member.

The out-of-control vessel seemed to be running out of fuel, so it was possible for an RNLI crewman to get aboard safely, activate the kill cord, and a tow was then able to be established between the ILB and the speedboat.

He and his partner were both monitored by crew as the lifeboat headed back to shore, and an evacuation plan was formed to transfer the casualties to an ambulance back at the lifeboat station.

The D-class left the scene and towed the stricken speedboat to the Sandy Beach area, while the larger lifeboat headed back to shore with the two casualties. They were then transferred to Holyhead lifeboat station to await an ambulance.

North Wales Ambulance attended shortly before 4pm, and the male casualty was taken to Ysbyty Gwynedd to be fully assessed and treated. The female was assessed and given advice to treat any residual pain or after-effects, but was not deemed to be in need of hospital treatment.

Both lifeboats were made ready for any further calls by 4pm.

Holyhead lifeboat coxswain Tony Price said:

‘The couple had been unlucky; they had owned the boat for some time, and it seemed that a steering failure as the boat increased speed had caused the boat to veer out of control, throw the two occupants against the craft’s upper steel work and top sides, and then throw them overboard.

‘Luckily a nearby good Samaritan vessel had managed to get them out of the water, and we were able to treat them using our equipment and skilled volunteers, until we passed them over to the care of the ambulance service.’

He added:

‘This was a great example of co-operation between ourselves, the volunteer coastguard team, HM Coastguard, and North Wales Ambulance Service. We wish both casualties well, and hope the gentleman has a speedy recovery from his injuries.’


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.

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