RNLI Wells volunteer lifeboat crew save man’s life on hottest day on record

Lifeboats News Release

RNLI Wells inshore lifeboat was immediately paged by HM Coastguard at 2.17pm on Tuesday 19 July to go to the assistance of a man who was in distress off Wells west beach as temperatures soared.

Volunteer lifeboat crew attending to the needs of the casualty on the beach

RNLI/Ray West

Volunteer lifeboat crew resuce man from the sea

The man in distress was a non-swimmer and in a rubber inflatable ring. He had got into difficulties as he was swept offshore. Three passers-by were alerted to his situation and two of them tried to help, but they were unable to bring him to the beach because of the strong offshore wind.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched at 2.24pm and arrived on scene at 2.32pm to find that all on scene were accounted for. The man in distress was landed on the safety of the beach. He had dislocated his shoulder, was suffering from heatstroke and was severely dehydrated.

Essential casualty care was carried out by the lifeboat crew on scene as the man drifted in and out of consciousness. He was exhausted and suffering from the ingestion of sea water. Medical assistance was requested, and the casualty was subsequently sick and started to feel a little better.

Whilst awaiting medical assistance, the station Softrack launch and recovery vehicle, together with crew, a stretcher and oxygen, left the Boathouse at 2.45pm and proceeded to the beach where the inshore lifeboat and casualty were located.

The Softrack was on scene at 3.12pm and the person in difficulties, who was still receiving medical attention, was placed on a stretcher in the inshore lifeboat. The Softrack and lifeboat proceeded back across the beach to the new boathouse at 3.30pm.

The Softrack arrived back at 3.50pm and the casualty was transferred to the cooler confines of the crew changing room, where the lifeboat crew and the local paramedic continued their casualty care and first aid.

The ambulance arrived at 4.15pm and the casualty started to respond positively. The decision was made to take the person to the hospital for further assessment and treatment.

The inshore lifeboat was stood down at 4.15pm and returned to the current station. It was rehoused in the existing boathouse, sanitised, refuelled, and ready again for service at 4.20pm.

Lifeboat Operations Manager, Chris Hardy, said ‘it is understandable that people want to get in the sea on a day as hot as today, but the currents around Wells are strong and as the tide goes out, they can very quickly carry the strongest of swimmers out to sea. Inflatables of any sort should not be used on Wells beach, especially when there is an offshore wind with the tide going out as was the situation today’.

‘This man’s life was saved today by the quick response of our volunteer lifeboat crew’.

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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