A busy eight days for Looe RNLI volunteers
August 2023, was a peaceful month, which saw Looe RNLI volunteer crews responding to a couple of shore based incidents without any tasking requests to launch the charity’s inshore lifeboats on service.
However, the start of September has seen crew pagers sounding six times, resulting in nine lifeboat launches and one shore based incident.
The latest launches occurred yesterday, Sunday 10 September 2023, the first shout of the day came after a Sea Safari Rib contacted Falmouth MRCC to report they had spotted netting and rope floating in the water off Polperro. With crew pagers sounding at 12.06 pm our volunteer crew made their way to the lifeboat station through busy streets and crowds at the food festival along East Looe Quay. Our volunteer crew were tasked to investigate and report back to the Coastguards. The charity’s Atlantic 85 Sheila and Dennis Tongue II was launched within eight minutes and made best speed to the reported location. Arriving on scene our crew found approx. 200m of rope floating in a long strand. The rope was considered to be a hazard to boats operating in the area and the coastguards asked if it could be recovered. Our crew hauled the rope onto the Atlantic 85 and made their way back to East Looe Quay to unload the rope under the fish market.
The Atlantic 85 then returned to station where it was washed down and refuelled ready for her next service call and it was not long before pagers sounded again at 5.55 pm. Falmouth Coastguard MRCC were receiving multiple calls regarding swimmers in difficulties off Portwrinkle beach. Concerned there were two separate incidents ongoing, our crews were tasked to launch both inshore lifeboats whilst Plymouth Lifeboat Station’s All Weather lifeboat was also tasked to assist. Within eight minutes the charity’s Atlantic 85 Sheila and Dennis Tongue II and D Class Ollie Naismith II were launched and our crews made best speed over to Whitsand bay. The lifeboats arrived on scene to find the casualty already onshore in the care of SW Ambulance service. Falmouth coastguards established all the calls they had received related to this single incident and with the casualty being attended to ashore, the three lifeboats were stood down to return to their respective stations.
This busy period for Looe RNLI volunteer crews started the previous Sunday with a tasking request early in the morning of 3 September 2023, when crew pagers sprang into life at 9.19 am. A person on a 12 foot aluminium boat was out fishing by the Rannies Buoy, and even though the sea was relatively calm, he suddenly found the boat was taking on water. The casualty was able to attract the attention of a local fishing boat close by, whose skipper telephoned our Lifeboat Operations Manager, Dave Haines. After informing Falmouth Coastguard MRCC to what was happening, Dave paged our crew to assist. Shortly afterwards both inshore lifeboats were launched carrying salvage pumps. Arriving on scene our crew placed the lifeboats on either side of the boat to set up the pumps and remove the water. Once pumped out our crews escorted the boat back to the Millpool slip where it could be recovered. Our crews commented that the casualty was well prepared with a lifejacket and spare engine and it was unfortunate that a set of waves caused the boat to start filling with water.
Later in the evening, Sunday 3 September 2023, crew pagers sounded again at 8.43 pm after Falmouth coastguard MRCC received a request for assistance from four persons with a dog who found themselves cut off by the tide under the cliffs at Tregantle. Our volunteer crews quickly launched the charity’s Atlantic 85 Sheila and Dennis Tongue II and D Class Ollie Naismith II and both inshore lifeboats made best speed towards Whitsand bay. Arriving on scene our volunteer crews quickly located the casualties, after checking they were all uninjured the casualties were transferred onto the D Class ILB Ollie Naismith II and taken back to the main beach at Tregantle.
On Wednesday evening our volunteer crews had the opportunity to train alongside colleagues from Looe Community Fire Station as the port was visited by Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service’s fire boat based in Falmouth.
On Friday afternoon, 8 September 2023 our volunteer crew were asked to help with a medical incident on East Looe beach. Later that evening our volunteer crews received a tasking request along with Plymouth Lifeboat Station. Falmouth Coastguard MRCC received reports of a swimmer caught in a rip current and was approx 150m out from Sharrow Point, and 2 surfers were going to her aid. At 7.42 pm both Looe and Plymouth inshore lifeboats were tasked to assist, as there were reports of other swimmers who may also be caught up in the rip. Our RNLI volunteer crews quickly launched the charity’s Atlantic 85 Sheila & Dennis Tongue II and the D-Class Ollie Naismith II whilst colleagues at our flank station Plymouth launched their Atlantic 85 Annabel E Jones. Helicopter Rescue 924 from Newquay was also tasked to assist but shortly after arriving they were re tasked to another shout. As lifeboat crews arrived on scene, they found that 2 surfers Jack & Harry had seen the lady in difficulty and proceeded to the area to assist her. Cold and shaken the casualty was taken on board the Plymouth Inshore Lifeboat to be assessed and warmed up. Our Atlantic 85 arrived on scene and transferred crew member Vicky, who is a nurse, onto Plymouth’s Atlantic 85 to assist with casualty care as they made their way back to Plymouth Lifeboat station and a waiting Ambulance.
Helm Will Roberts from Plymouth RNLI said: We made best speed in the charity’s Atlantic 85 class Lifeboat to the area knowing that there was a person in the water needing our immediate assistance. As we arrived on scene we found the casualty requiring further medical attention and we would like to thank Vicky, Looe’s volunteer crew member for assisting.
Plymouth’s crew Member Niel Humphrey also said : A big thank you to the 2 surfers Jack and Harry who assisted keeping her afloat until help arrived. Also thank you to Plymouth & Tamar Coastguard rescue teams who were attending to her family watching from the beach."
After Looe's crew, Toby, Jack, Will and Goron on the D Class had confirmed all other swimmers were safe back on shore, they were stood down to return to station, whilst our crew on the Atlantic 85 accompanied Plymouth's Atlantic ILB back to Plymouth Lifeboat station. After handing the casualty over to the Ambulance service, Vicky rejoined our crew Clive, Aaron and Dave to make their way back to Looe Lifeboat Station
Notes to editors
· Looe RNLI Atlantic 85 Sheila and Dennis Tongue II and D Class
Ollie Naismith II returning to station yesterday evening 10 September 2023
Photo credit Looe RNLI / Ian Foster
· Looe RNLI volunteer crew Tom Peat unloading the rope from the Atlantic 85
Photo credit Looe RNLI / Ian Foster
· Looe RNLI volunteer crew Will Jaycock unloading the rope onto East Looe Quay
Photo credit Looe RNLI / Ian Foster
· Re-established as an inshore lifeboat station in 1992, Looe RNLI operate two inshore lifeboats
An Atlantic 85 Sheila and Dennis Tongue II and a D Class Ollie Naismith II
· For further information on Looe RNLI Lifeboats please visit our website www.looelifeboats.co.uk
· Looe RNLI Facebook page www.facebook.com/LooeRNLI
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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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