First Aid Training Session Turns Into Real Call For Help For Holyhead RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

The busy jubilee bank holiday started with a bang for Holyhead RNLI.

Laura Roberts

Holyhead's all weather lifeboat heads out on call on Wednesday

Two shouts, one each for the all-weather and inshore lifeboats, meant the volunteer crew were kept busy from late on Wednesday (June 1) until the early hours of Thursday (June 2) – and then again later that day, with the second call.

Pagers first sounded just after 6pm on Wednesday, requesting the launch of the Severn-class lifeboat Christopher Pearce, to a vessel 27 nautical miles north of the Holyhead Breakwater end. Three people were on board, and one sailor had sustained an accidental head injury from a piece of equipment while on board, and was feeling unwell, so assistance was requested via HM Coastguard.

At the time of the call, the crew were already gathering at the lifeboat station for a first aid training session, which turned into a real call for help.

The lifeboat launched quickly and headed out to the location. Although conditions were excellent, with calm seas and little wind, due to the distance involved, the lifeboat’s estimated time of arrival was one hour and 20 minutes. The Severn-class made good progress, and due to the favourable conditions, the casualty vessel, a 32ft ketch, was spotted some eight miles away, and contact was made. It was realised that the craft had also suffered engine failure.

On arriving at scene, at approximately 7.50pm, two casualty care trained lifeboat crew members and medical equipment were transferred above the casualty craft, and an assessment was made of the injured man.

It was decided that the best course of action would be for the lifeboat to tow the ketch back to the nearest safe and suitable port, Holyhead, while the lifeboat crew members stayed on board the vessel to monitor the casualty’s condition.

A tow was established by 8.15pm, and both boats then made progress at a rate of 7-8 knots, back to the safety of the Holyhead harbour, pausing en route to let the Stena Adventurer passenger ferry pass on her way.

The lifeboat and casualty vessel arrived back to the harbour, changed the tow to an alongside tow, and delivered the ketch to the safety of the mooring at 00.20am Thursday morning. The casualty himself was deemed well, and the lifeboat left to refuel, and she was prepared for any further calls by 1am.

Holyhead RNLI crewman Russ Clarke, who was one of those transferred aboard the casualty vessel, said:

‘The man was feeling slightly generally unwell, dazed and dizzy, so we went aboard to assess and monitor him and administer any necessary first aid. I stayed with the man while my fellow crewman helped out the others on board, and took over the helm when they started to feel the cold. They were all experienced crew with all the correct equipment, and the vessel was well maintained. They were unlucky with the engine failure and the head injury both occuring, and we were happy to assist them all get back to safety here in Holyhead.’

The second call came on Thursday afternoon (June 2) just after 12.40pm, when HM Coastguard requested the launch of the D-class inshore lifeboat Mary and Archie Hooper. It was reported that a 40ft ketch, with four people on board, was in trouble, two miles north of Holyhead Breakwater. Again, the volunteers leapt into action, and had launched the lifeboat within a few minutes.

The lifeboat reached the location quickly, and it transpired the casualty vessel had suffered an engine issue. Due to the location being in the busy shipping lanes off the Anglesey coast, the safest solution would be to tow the stricken vessel and her occupants to safety.

The tow was established smoothly, and the D-class and ketch made steady progress back into Holyhead harbour, and the casualty vessel was placed on a mooring just off Newry Beach. The lifeboat then returned to the station, and was made ready for any further calls by 2.30pm.

For any further information, please contact Vicki Owens, Holyhead Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07531 681409, or email [email protected]

Holyhead RNLI/Richard Thompson

Holyhead RNLI volunteers returning to berth in the early hours of Thursday

RNLI/Vicki Owens

Holyhead's inshore lifeboat returning from Thursday's call

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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