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Two taskings for Exmouth RNLI today

Lifeboats News Release

Exmouth RNLI volunteers were tasked to two separate emergencies within minutes of each other this afternoon.

RNLI/John Thorogood

Exmouth RNLI All Weather Lifeboat in action

At 2.33pm today Monday 4th September 2023 the crew of Exmouth RNLI D-Class inshore lifeboat D-805 George Bearman II were tasked by H.M. Coastguard to a report of an 11 year old child in difficulty in the sea off Dawlish Warren, unable to get back to shore.

The lifeboat launched at 2.40pm and its crew were quickly on scene at the reported location. Local Coastguard Rescue Teams were also summonsed to the location to assist with the emergency. However, the crew of the inshore lifeboat conducted a thorough search of the area, made contact with a number of persons on the beach, but no-one was found to be in difficulty or in need of help.

Then at 2.45pm today H.M. Coastguard requested the launch of Exmouth RNLI Shannon Class all weather lifeboat 13-03 R & J Welburn to a report of children in difficulty on a collection of small inflatables half a mile south of Orcombe Point, Exmouth. The lifeboat launched at 2.54pm and made its way to the location given.

Meanwhile at 3.01pm, satisfied that no one was found to need help off Dawlish Warren, H.M. Coastguard stood down the Exmouth RNLI inshore lifeboat that returned to station and was back on service shortly afterwards.

At 3.05pm the crew of the all weather lifeboat located seven casualties in the sea off Orcombe Point, two adults and five children. They had been swept out by the tide, had no safety equipment or means of communication. Another adult, unconnected to the original group, had gone out on his paddleboard and was using it to keep some of the others afloat. The lifesavers took all seven onboard the lifeboat and conveyed them to the safety of shore at Exmouth Marina. As they had been in the water for some considerable time, an ambulance was summonsed to meet the lifeboat crew and check over the casualties.

The inshore lifeboat was crewed by Andy Stott, Guy Munnings and Jason Luff and the all weather lifeboat by Coxswain Steve Hockings-Thompson and crew Roy Stott, Harry Griffin, Geoff Mills, Mark Cockman and Roger Moore. Other Exmouth RNLI volunteers involved were Tim Barnes, Neil Cannon, Ted Wignall, Mark Sansom, Jake Richards, Debra Quine, Ian Taylor and Henry Thomas. Both launch requests were authorised by Exmouth RNLI Deputy Launch Authority, Mike Gall.

Exmouth RNLI Coxswain of the all weather lifeboat, Steve Hockings-Thompson, said “Inflatable toys are for a controlled environment like the swimming pools, not the sea. They are easily caught in the wind or tide and taken out to sea very often placing young persons in great danger, which is what happened today. Myself and my crew were pleased that we were able to be quickly respond to this emergency and rescue those involved without them coming to any harm.”

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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