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Burnham-on-Sea RNLI crew paged to sinking 15m trawler

Lifeboats News Release

Burnham-on-Sea volunteers were paged at 7.30 am today (17 August), after a 15m converted trawler was reported to be taking on water in the Bristol Channel, adjacent to Hinkley Point.

The casualty vessel with the Burnham-on-Sea Atlantic 85 'Doris Day and Brian' alongside


The casualty vessel with the Burnham-on-Sea Atlantic 85 'Doris Day and Brian' alongside

The casualty vessel was apparently en route from Watchet Harbour to Portishead, when ingress of water was discovered. The two man crew immediately called ‘Pan Pan’ over their radio, which was quickly escalated to a ‘Mayday’ call by Milford Haven Coastguard control. As well as the Burnham-on-Sea lifeboat, Barry Dock's all-weather lifeboat was called out, and a Coastguard helicopter scrambled.

Burnham's Atlantic 85 lifeboat was speedily launched by the shore crew volunteers, and made its way to the casualty. The lifeboat crew soon discovered the casualty craft some way off Hinkley Point. Because of the Mayday call, there were other craft also in the vicinity.

A lifeboat crew member was landed on the vessel, along with the lifeboat salvage pump, as the craft’s engine room was still taking on water, and the vessel’s pumps were apparently non-functional. The salvage pump was not making headway and the craft was settling lower in the water. By this time, Barry Dock lifeboat had arrived on scene, and the two casualty crew had been taken off while efforts continued to reduce the level of water in the engine room. The measures were not effective, and the vessel by this time was not towable, sinking lower in the water.

The Burnham crewmember was taken off along with the salvage pump and Barry Dock made arrangements to watch over the vessel until it sank completely. The rescued crew being very cold, were then transferred from Barry Dock to the Burnham lifeboat, and were brought back to Burnham-on-Sea Lifeboat Station for aftercare.

Burnham Helm Scott Rundle said: ‘We put a crewmember aboard the casualty vessel with our station salvage pump. By this time the water was rising faster in the engine room and the vessel was not recoverable.’

Note: Since publication on, a member of the trawler’s crew has communicated that the bilge pumps were working, but could not cope with the ingress of water.


Notes for Editors

Image with this release: ‘Casualty_and_lifeboat’ Supplied by RNLI Barry Dock lifeboat crew shows the Burnham-on-Sea Lifeboat alongside the casualty vessel.

RNLI Lifeboats at Burnham-on-Sea

A 8.5m Atlantic 85 named Doris Day and Brian plus a smaller 4.95m D class IB1 inflatable named Burnham Reach The station was opened officially on 15 May 2004, but has been operational since December 2003.

RNLI media contacts

For more information about this release please telephone Mike Lang, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07889 815860 or email [email protected],

Alternatively, telephone Amy Caldwell RNLI Public Relations Manager (South) Tel: 07920 818 807, [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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