Wells RNLI assist Coastguard in airlift of collapsed athlete

Lifeboats News Release

The Wells RNLI inshore lifeboat was paged at 3.50pm on Saturday 10 June 2023.

Wells RNLI Inshore lifeboat with crew of 4 all smiling, posing for the camera, at sea.

RNLI/Leanne Mccolm

Wells Inshore Lifeboat with crew, pictured 3 June 2023.

At 3.58pm the lifeboat launched and proceeded to Gun Hill/Burnham Overy Staithe. A woman taking part in a sporting event had collapsed and needed medical assistance.

The local coastguard teams and coastguard rescue helicopter were also tasked for assistance. The weather was good with a light easterly wind.

The inshore lifeboat arrived on scene at 4.22 pm, but the tide was ebbing in the Burnham Overy harbour. A crew member with emergency medical supplies was landed on Gun Hill and made haste to the casualty at 4.30pm. The coastguard team and the station's softrack launch and recovery vehicle had also arrived on scene by then.

The coastguard helicopter was able to land close to the casualty, who was then airlifted to Boston hospital at 5.06pm.

The Wells inshore lifeboat left the scene at 5.15pm and returned to the lifeboat station at 6.15pm, with the aid of the waiting recovery vehicle, due to the low tide.

The lifeboat was sanitised, rehoused, refuelled and ready for service again at 7pm.The casualty was later reported to be safely recovering in Boston hospital after this rapid multi-agency rescue.

Notes to editors

The RNLI is the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

Wells RNLI is based on Beach Road, Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, NR23 1DR. The lifeboat station was first founded in 1869 and the volunteer crew use an all weather Shannon class, Duke of Edinburgh and a D-class Inshore lifeboat, Peter Wilcox.

Brief History of Wells RNLI

There has been a lifeboat at Wells since 1830, the RNLI took over the operation in 1869. Until 1936 horses were used to launch the lifeboat and in fact Wells was the last station to have them replaced with a motor lifeboat, a surf-class, Royal Silver Jubilee 1910-1935.

The current lifeboats we have are the Inshore lifeboat a D-class Peter Wilcox since 2016 and a new in 2022 Shannon class lifeboat, Duke of Edinburgh.

Wells RNLI new boathouse with people walking past on a sunny day

RNLI/Ray West

Wells RNLI boathouse opened October 2022

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.