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Port Talbot RNLI were paged following reports of a person entering the water

Lifeboats News Release

Port Talbot RNLI lifeboat D848 (Craig Morris) and its volunteer crew were task by HM Coastguard, at 4:25pm to a report of a person in the water on Morfa beach.

HM Coastguard helicopter 187 assisting in the search

RNLI/Ceri Jeffreys

HM Coastguard helicopter 187

Port Talbot RNLI crew launched speedily in heavy surf, clear skies with a moderate north westerly wind, at 4:31pm to make their way to Morfa Beach at best possible speed. The crew undertook a shoreline search of the breakwater from seaward into shore and then along Morfa Beach toward the Kenfig River.

Once Port Talbot Coastguard were on-scene, the search area was confirmed to be inside the Harbour.

Port Talbot RNLI Lifeboat made best speed to the new search area and once on scene commenced a search of the inside breakwater and training wall.

As the search progressed Aberavon Lifeguard rescue water craft was in the area undertaking training and were requested by Port Talbot Lifeboat to do a shoreline search with Port Talbot RNLI Lifeboat of the North breakwater.

HM Coastguard then authorised the launch of the Rescue 187 helicopter at 5:41pm to commence an aerial search of the harbour and associated breakwaters with nothing found, despite the extensive search. Rescue 187 was stood down and returned to base.

Port Talbot RNLI lifeboat were then requested to search the River Afan side of the Harbour Breakwater. Due to the length of time the volunteer crew had been at sea, Rachel Thomas, Duty Launch Authority, decided to take the opportunity for a crew change and refuel.

The second crew launched from the river and completed another slow speed shoreline search of the river, both sides of the North Harbour Breakwater, along the inner harbour training wall, under the Jetty, and finally both sides of the South 'Long Arm' Breakwater to completion at Morfa Beach.

HM Coastguard decided they were satisfied that the search area had been saturated and all search patterns had been carried out. After almost four hours of searching and doing everything they could to assist in the search, HM Coastguard stood down Port Talbot RNLI lifeboat at 7:57pm.

Due to high water and large swell on the Lifeboat Slipway it was decided to recover Port Talbot RNLI lifeboat at the Afan Boats Club Slipway on the River Afan at 9:04pm.

Rachel Thomas Duty Launch Authority, said: 'This was a very long service call with multi agency involvement, covering a large sea area requiring all agencies to work together to ensure every possible location was searched by land, sea and air.

All agencies worked very well together putting the many hours of joint training into practice. The length of the service and the expanding search area required the use of multiple launch sites, refuelling and a change of volunteer crew, this was an excellent example of joint working'.

Port Talbot RNLI lifeboat was recovered at the River Afan, returning to the station via road. The Lifeboat was then refuelled, washed down, and made ready for service again, with its volunteer crew finally leaving the station at 9:05pm committing five hours of time to Saving Lives at Sea.

HM Coastguard helicopter 187

RNLI/Ceri Jeffreys

HM Coastguard helicopter 187

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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