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Yarmouth RNLI tasked to multi-agency search for two paddleboarders in Poole Bay

Lifeboats News Release

Alongside two Swanage RNLI Lifeboats, two Poole RNLI Lifeboats, Mudeford RNLI Lifeboat, Lymington RNLI Lifeboat, HM Coastguard Helicopters and a police helicopter, Yarmouth RNLI All-weather Lifeboat helped successfully locate one of the paddleboarders who had been missing for eight hours.

RNLI/Hebe Gregory

Yarmouth 17-25 returning to berth

Monday 3 July 2023 saw a mass multi-agency search take place in Poole Bay outside Swanage following reports of two missing persons in the water.

Local lifeboats to the area were tasked earlier in the afternoon, but the decision was made for HM Coastguard to launch Yarmouth RNLI 17-25 ‘Eric and Susan Hiscock – Wanderer’ at 6:45pm.

Yarmouth lifeboat made good speed and navigated through the Needles Channel towards Poole Bay in moderate sea conditions and two-and-a-half-metre swells. Within the hour, Yarmouth RNLI had arrived on scene and began their search as coordinated by Coastguard in the attempts to locate the missing persons.

Shortly after Yarmouth RNLI’s search had started, a member of the crew spotted what they believed to be a Wave Rider in the water, so the lifeboat diverted to investigate, and crews then quickly established that the object in the water was one of the missing persons on their paddleboard.

Moving quickly, the crew alerted Coastguard and all surrounding rescue vessels and then proceeded to initiate the recovery of the casualty.

Once on board, the crew began their initial casualty care assessment, and it was decided that the casualty required hospital treatment and the process of airlifting the casualty was put into place along with the Coastguard helicopter.

The Coastguard paramedic was winched down on to Yarmouth lifeboat and carried out their own medical assessment on the casualty, agreeing that airlifting the casualty would be the best and quickest means of transfer to be admitted to the nearest hospital.

Once airlifted into the helicopter, Yarmouth Lifeboat continued alongside the other RNLI lifeboats their search of the bay, to locate the second paddleboarder.

After a thorough search of the area, and now being more determined as darkness fell, reports came in via land-based Coastguard teams that a paddleboard had been found at Hengistbury Head, between Mudeford and Bournemouth.

The smaller D-Class and Atlantic 85 lifeboats were then tasked to the area to conduct searches closer to shore whilst the ALBs (All Weather Lifeboats) continued to finish their search patterns in the Swanage area.

As the last of the daylight faded, reports of a person near Bournemouth Pier were received over radio by police. Within minutes, it was confirmed that this person was the second missing paddleboarder that the crews were searching for.

All remaining units were then stood down, with both casualties taken to hospital for further treatment.

Yarmouth lifeboat and her crew started the passage back to Yarmouth, a good hour’s journey, where the boat was refuelled and marked as ready for service at 11.02pm.

The search effort was coordinated by HM Coastguard. HMCG search and rescue helicopters from Lee-on-the-Solent and St Athan, Coastguard Rescue Teams from Lymington, Poole, Southbourne, St Albans Head, and Swanage, RNLI lifeboats from Swanage, Poole, Yarmouth, Lymington and Mudeford, the National Police Air Service helicopter, and teams from Dorset Police and South West Ambulance Service.

Richard Pimm, Mechanic of Yarmouth RNLI Lifeboat said:

‘This is what this institution exists for. This is why the RNLI was started. To save lives at sea, and tonight alongside Coastguard, and the police we did just that – we wish the two casualties a speedy recovery.’

Notes to editors

  • Yarmouth RNLI Lifeboat 17-25 Eric and Susan Hiscock ‘Wanderer’ came into service in 2001, prior to that Yarmouth RNLI had an Arun Class Lifeboat 52-08 Joy and John Wade which was in service for 23 years.
  • Photo attached of RNLI 17-25 returning to station by Hebe Gregory (LPO)
  • Lifeboats involved in the multi-agency search: Swanage ALB 13-12, Swanage ILB D 752, Poole Lifeboat B 826, Poole ILB D 804, Mudeford ILB B 806 and Lymington ILB B 882.
  • Other teams included in the search: HM Coastguard search and rescue helicopters from Lee-on-the Solent and St Athan. Coastguard rescue teams from Lymington, Poole, Southbourne, St Albans Head and Swanage, The National Police Air Service helicopter, and teams from Dorset Police and South West Ambulance service.

RNLI media contacts

● Hebe Gregory, Yarmouth RNLI Trainee Lifeboat Press Officer [email protected]

● Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (South East), 0207 6207426, 07785 296252

[email protected]

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

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For more information, please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the RNLI News Centre.

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 over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, 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.

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

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.

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