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Three back to back yacht shouts sees Angle RNLI spend over 10 hours at sea

Lifeboats News Release

Three back to back yacht shouts sees Angle RNLI spend over 10 hours at sea during Storm Betty

Three back to back yacht shouts sees Angle RNLI spend over 10 hours at sea during Storm Betty with Force 10 winds gusting 56kts and 6 meter seas.

Angle All-Weather Lifeboat was paged for an immediate launch at 6:30pm last night following a Mayday call from a yacht drifting ashore beneath Dale Fort with one person onboard.

The lifeboat launched and made best speed in freshening conditions to the casualty vessel. A Port Authority pilot vessel and a Svitzer tug which were in the process of sailing an oil tanker both diverted to offer assistance.

Upon arrival on scene shortly after both the pilot vessel and tug, the crew found the vessel against the shore partially submerged with the single occupant still onboard. The pilot vessel and crew had managed to get a line on but with the yacht unsalvageable there was nothing more they could do. The Y boat was launched immediately to head in and pluck the casualty from the yacht. In difficult conditions with strong winds and a difficult sea state, the Y boat was manoeuvred in close and the casualty taken onboard.

As the Y boat was in the process of transferring the casualty onto the lifeboat, the crew received a second tasking to another yacht aground just around the corner off Dale Beach. The vessel with one person onboard had come away from the pontoon and was in difficulty. Dale Coastguard Rescue Team were on scene and observing.

The lifeboat made its was in and using the Y boat attached a tow and began to take the yacht into deeper water. Due to the conditions and limited marina spaces, the lifeboat began towing the yacht up the Haven towards Hobbs Point.

However, as the crew were rounding Weir Spit they received their third tasking of the night. A yacht around 30 miles south west of St Ann’s Head had issued a Mayday call when they lost both sails and steering.

With some quick thinking, the crew altered course into the moorings at Hazelbeach and the first casualty was transferred onto the yacht from the second shout and handed over to the crew of the Y boat to safely secure and transfer the casualties ashore. In the meantime, the All-Weather Lifeboat began its near two hour journey out to the third casualty.

Making best speed in difficult conditions, the crew battled a Force 10 with winds gusting 56kts and 6 meter seas.

Due to the conditions and severity of the yachts distress, a Coastguard Rescue Helicopter from Newquay and Appledore All-Weather Lifeboat had also been tasked.

Nearly two hours later, the lifeboat arrived on scene with the yacht and after assessing the situation the crew passed a tow and began the long journey back towards Milford Haven. At this point Appledore Lifeboat were stood down, but the helicopter continued to shadow the tow for a brief while before standing down.

Following a near six hour tow in horrendous conditions, where the crew had to reset the tow on three occasions the lifeboat and casualty vessel finally arrived at the safety of Hobbs Point and the yacht and it’s relieved crew were secured alongside by 4:30am this morning.

With no further assistance required the lifeboat and her crew were stood down to return to station where she was readied for further service just after 5am this morning and the crew could head home for a well deserved rest.

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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.