Two Essex RNLI stations involved in shout in challenging conditions
Just after 1pm on Monday 21 November both Burnham RNLI and Walton & Frinton RNLI responded to a Mayday call from a vessel aground.
Burnham RNLI managed to get close enough to put a crew member on board to check the yacht’s occupants but, with more than three hours of falling tide remaining there was no prospect of the vessel refloating for several hours.
With light failing and gale force winds and rain the conditions on scene were challenging to all involved. Dover Coastguard tasked a UK Coastguard helicopter to airlift the occupants off the stranded craft. The Burnham RNLI crew member on board the yacht prepared the crew for the lift and travelled in the helicopter with them to Clacton airfield where they were met by Clacton Coastguard team members.
Walton & Frinton RNLI’s Tamar class lifeboat accompanied the Atlantic 85 of Burnham RNLI back into the River Crouch and then started to proceed back to base. However, the Coastguard requested that they make an attempt to retrieve the craft if at all possible without endangering themselves.
The Coxswain returned to the sands to see whether the anchor which the yachts crew had deployed was holding as the tide rose. After some time the yacht broke free of its anchor and was in danger of drifting or potentially breaking up. After clearance from the vessels owner to do whatever was required the lifeboat crew managed to rig a line to the vessel and slowly brought her in to Bradwell Marina on the River Blackwater where they were met by the South Woodham Ferrers Coastguard team and the skipper of the yacht.
Walton & Frinton Lifeboat crew eventually returned to their rough weather mooring in Titchmarsh Marina, Walton Backwaters just before midnight, some 11 hours after they were initially called.
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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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