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Bembridge RNLI lifeboats launched to unmanned boat

Lifeboats News Release

Both Bembridge RNLI's lifeboats were launched on Monday 6 February to locate a 12ft unmanned boat reported close to the shore in Whitecliff Bay on the Isle of Wight.

Picture of the open 12 foot dinghy ashore in Whitecliff Bay

Darren Toogood - Island Echo

12 foot open angling dinghy

RNLB Norman Harvey (Inshore Lifeboat D-778) launched at 1.35pm and RNLB Alfred Albert Williams (Tamar All-Weather Lifeboat 16-17) at 2.19pm.

The initial tasking by HM Coastguard for the Norman Harvey was to investigate a report of the unmanned 12ft boat close to the shore in Whitecliff Bay. Conditions were very benign so it did not take them long to reach the vessel which had by that time beached. On investigating, they found the outboard engine was warm, the chart plotter active and there was a fishing line over the side. HM Coastguard then tasked them to conduct a search of the bay and requested the Alfred Albert Williams to launch to assist.

At 2.22pm Coastguard Helicopter Rescue 175 (which had also been tasked) identified a possible casualty in the water to the west of the bay. The Norman Harvey quickly located the unconscious casualty who was immediately transferred to the Alfred Albert Williams and having had Rescue 175's paramedic winched onboard headed at full speed to Portsmouth Camber. Arriving at 2.56pm the casualty was transferred to an Ambulance. The Alfred Albert Williams then returned to Bembridge - having transferred the paramedic back to Rescue 175 - and was recovered by 4.45pm.

In the meantime, the Norman Harvey, HMS Blazer, Sandown & Shanklin Independent Lifeboat and Selsey's Shannon Class All Weather Lifeboat (13-20) along with a number of other vessels - assisted by Bembridge and Ventnor Coastguard Rescue Teams ashore - carried out further searches in the area as it was not known how many people had been on the angling boat. The Norman Harvey was recovered by 5pm.

Sadly, it was subsequently confirmed by Hampshire & Isle of Wight Constabulary that the casualty was pronounced dead upon arrival at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth.

RNLI media contacts

Mike Samuelson, Bembridge RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, on 07785 593254 or [email protected]

Paul Dunt, RNLI Press Officer London/East/South East) on 0207 6207416, 07785 296252 [email protected]

For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

Coastguard Helicopter Rescue 175 transferring their paramedic to RNLB Alfred Albert Williams

Darren Toogood - Island Echo

Paramedic being transferred to RNLB Alfred Albert Williams
AIS track of RNLB Norman Harvey

AIS track of RNLB Norman Harvey
AIS track of RNLB Alfred Albert Williams

AIS track of RNLB Alfred Albert Williams

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.