Wales: Angle lifeboat, rescue helo & warship in dramatic medevac from trawler in rough sea & force 8 gale, 2 other shouts detailed – 230313 0035z

(Photo: RAF/Angle lifeboat) Angle lifeboat standing off.

“The first shout yesterday was: At 1033 the ALB launched to reports of a young male threatening to jump from the Cleddau Bridge, near Pembroke Dock. As the young man was not seen on the bridge when the Coastguard arrived on scene the ALB deployed her daughter boat, and the two boats conducted a thorough search of the area. At 1212 the Coastguard and Police were satisfied that the risk was sufficiently reduced that the ALB could be released to return to station. She arrived back on the slipway at approximately 1300.

The second, and longest, of yesterday’s shouts. The crew had barely arrived at their homes for a well-earned lunch when the pagers went again. The ALB launched at 1358 to assist an injured crewman from a 25-metre French trawler south of the Smalls, a rocky outcrop with a lighthouse, some 21 miles west of the station.

In very rough sea conditions with up to 6.5m swell, an RAF helicopter had spent an hour trying to get a winchman aboard the trawler, but had been unable to, and had left the scene to refuel at Haverfordwest. The ALB arrived on scene at the same time as a Royal Naval warship, who had offered to try to provide a lee for the ALB to transfer the casualty, and a translator to assist with communications with the French-speaking trawler crew. The ALB made approaches assess the possibility of coming alongside the vessel. The condition of the casualty was given at this time as able to walk, but weak, and suffering hypothermia. It would not have been possible to transfer such a casualty in the conditions, and the trawler was asked to make best speed toward the coast where, given the offshore wind, conditions were more favourable, and the rescue helicopter was requested to return to the scene. On her arrival, still in dreadful conditions, after numerous attempts the helicopter winchman was able to land on the trawler, and the casualty airlifted to hospital. The ALB was unable to rehouse due to the conditions at the slipway, and was moored at approximately 1900, prior to seeking a berth in a local marina.

FB video of medevac from trawler, March 21, 2013

And the third shout yesterday: Before she slipped her mooring, Milford Haven Coastguard requested the assistance of the lifeboat for the third time, to help investigate reports of red flares, sighted at Gelliswick, in the Milford Haven waterway. Using radar, searchlights and night-vision equipment nothing was found. The lifeboat was taken to Neyland marina, leaving the boat at 2110, and the crew driven back to Angle in the station Land Rover, arriving about an hour later. The lifeboat is still ready for service, with the crew ready to drive to Neyland should the pagers go. The crew expect to bring her back to the boathouse on Saturday morning.” – Angle Lifeboat RNLI

News Reports

(Photo: Royal Navy) RAF search and rescue helicopter from Chivenor was sent to the scene but weather conditions proved too bad for a winchman to be lowered on to the vessel

“This dramatic photograph shows the awful conditions that a Pembrokeshire RNLI crew battled through to get to an injured fisherman yesterday (Thursday).

The Portuguese fisherman was taken to hospital after suffering a head injury on his fishing boat about 30 nautical miles west of St Anns Head.

The RAF search and rescue helicopter from Chivenor was sent to the scene but weather conditions proved too bad for a winchman to be lowered on to the vessel.

The RNLI all-weather lifeboat from Angle was launched to meet the vessel, which was asked to head closer to land to try to find calmer waters, and HMS Echo went to assist.

The helicopter then returned to the scene and airlifted the casualty to Morriston Hospital in Swansea.

Milford Haven Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) was contacted by the French authorities just before midday to report that a fisherman needed evacuation.

Watch keeping staff at Milford Haven MRCC tried to make contact with the vessel, but the people on board spoke little English, and a member of MRCC staff who spoke French managed to pass on some information.

The wind at the time was blowing a south easterly gale force eight (39-46 mph), with rough seas.

Milford Haven MRCC watch manager Barrie Yelland said: “Due to the weather conditions, this was a challenging rescue for all involved. It was made all the more difficult as those on board the fishing vessel couldn’t speak English.”

Commenting on last nights incident, MP Stephen Crabb said: I praise the efforts of all those involved in last nights rescue off St Anns Head. It is testament to the skills and dedication of the crew of volunteers from Angle RNLI , our local Coastguard and the RAF, who worked together to battle against the challenging weather conditions to bring this injured fisherman to safety. I understand that the individual is now receiving attention in Morriston Hospital.

This incident is a reminder of why we worked so hard to retain our much valued local coastguard centre in Milford Haven. And a reminder of the excellent work carried out locally to help support the RNLI in their vital work in saving lives at sea. “


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