UK: Two people rescued from sinking 70-foot yacht off the Isles Of Scilly – Published 20 Nov 2019 1920Z (GMT/UTC)

Two people were dramatically rescued off Cornwall on the morning of 18th November after their sailing vessel began taking on water and started to sink.

Falmouth coastguard received a radio mayday broadcast at 5.18am from the two people on board the 70-feet yacht, reporting that the vessel was 21 nautical miles north of the Isles of Scilly and the on-board electrics and pump had failed due to the incoming water.

It meant that they could not stop the water flow, which continued to increase.

The crew, who were wearing life jackets, launched the life raft, climbed aboard and abandoned the yacht after sending their mayday message.

The coastguard search and rescue helicopter (R924) from Newquay and the St Ives RNLI all-weather lifeboat were sent to the rescue by Falmouth Coastguard. A nearby fishing vessel, Cornishman, had also heard the radio distress message and went to offer help.

The search and rescue helicopter from Newquay arrived at 6.15am and quickly spotted the two men in their life raft. They were winched into the aircraft and airlifted to the helicopter’s base at Newquay for medical checks and welfare support. Thankfully, neither of the two were injured and made same-day plans to get home.

The FV Cornishman collected the now abandoned life raft and advised Falmouth coastguard that the yacht sank.

Jon Wood, maritime operations specialist, Falmouth coastguard, said: “The crew took exactly the right course of action. Their immediate mayday call on VHF channel 16 enabled us to pinpoint their position and get help to them quickly. Wearing life jackets and deploying their life raft increased the likelihood of their survival as the yacht sank beneath them.

“We would like to acknowledge the prompt, professional response of the helicopter and lifeboat as well as the crew of the FV Cornishman in this fast-moving incident.” – MCA

Rescue footage on Youtube (link)

Skipper rescued off Salcombe ‘had done all the right things’ – Published 01 May 2019 1528Z )GMT/UTC)

A skipper who was rescued after his boat caught on fire has been praised by HM Coastguard for having all the right equipment and doing all the right things.

Salcombe Lifeboat

Salcombe Lifeboat (Image: Salcombe RNLI)

Joe Dudley ran into difficulty when his fishing vessel Peace N Plenty had a fire on board six miles off Salcombe just before 6.30pm on 30 April. He called HM Coastguard reporting the problem and said he had abandoned to a life raft with a handheld VHF radio and EPIRB (emergency position-indicating radio beacon).

Both RNLI lifeboats from Salcombe were tasked and the skipper brought back to shore. Navigational warnings were issued for the abandoned vessel but the fire has now burned out and the boat is being towed back to harbour at Brixham. It will be inspected by a Maritime & Coastguard Agency surveyor.

Joe Dudley has recently completed a sea survival course. He said: ‘It’s incredible when you realise the things that you don’t think you’ve absorbed have actually gone in and you do all the safety things you need to.

‘I’d say to anyone thinking about doing a sea survival course to do it and to listen seriously because it could save your life.’

Tago Mcleod, from HM Coastguard based at Falmouth said: ‘This was a man who did everything right from the moment he realised he had a problem. He had a fully registered EPIRB which he activated right away, he was wearing a lifejacket and made ready his lifeboat. The EPIRB helped us establish his position to within a few metres. At the same time he called a family member who then was able to liaise with us.

‘We are always on hand in an emergency to rescue people who have called us on their VHF radio or calling 999 and asking for the coastguard, but this was someone who had understood the need to take responsibility for his own safety and did everything right to make the job of finding him easier.’

Follow the official page of Salcombe RNLI lifeboat station on Twitter:

For UK GALE WARNINGS & Shipping Forecast and the UK INSHORE GALE or Strong Wind Warnings & forecast to 12 miles offshore  follow GOATY’S NEWS (UK) 🇬🇧 🇪🇺 on Twitter (regular automatic tweets 24/7)


Do not use any information on this site for life or death decisions. All information is intended as supplementary to official sources. Kindly refer to your country’s official weather agency/government website for local warnings, advisories and bulletins.

UK: Crew rescued from French fishing vessel, La Fanette, off Lands End – Published 15 Mar 2019 1600z (GMT/UTC)

Six crew from a fishing vessel in distress were airlifted from their disabled vessel off Lands End in atrocious weather conditions over night on 12th March.


HM Coastguard was alerted at around 10pm on Tuesday night to the 24 metre French registered fishing vessel, La Fanette which had suffered engine failure. Another fishing vessel went to assist and HM Coastguard requested the launch of Sennen Cove RNLI lifeboat. Despite atrocious weather, Sennen Cove lifeboat launched but due to 5-6 metre waves on scene and storm force winds, it was impossible for either the fishing vessel or the lifeboat to establish a tow with La Fanette. Penlee RNLI all weather lifeboat also attended.

The six crew on board were airlifted from the fishing vessel by Newquay coastguard rescue helicopter.

Speaking after this morning’s incredible rescue, Captain Sharky Finn from Newquay coastguard helicopter said: ‘This is definitely one of the most challenging jobs we’ve seen at Newquay. We were flying into a force 8 gale with 20ft high waves swirling beneath us and we could clearly see the fishing vessel disappearing beneath the swell as we approached.

‘We had the support of RNLI Sennen Cove on scene who had tried to establish a tow line but were unable to do so because of the severe weather conditions.

‘We tried a variety of different winching positions as the fishing vessel pitched and rolled violently underneath us before lowering a hi-line and then our winchman to the bow. The only way we could do this was turn the helicopter 90 degrees out of winds which meant we were effectively flying sideways. Needless to say, it was very challenging deck; it stretched the capabilities of both the crew and the aircraft. However, despite this pressure we were able to take our time and safely recovered all six crewmates and our winchman to the aircraft before returning to the Newquay base. We’re grateful for the support of the Newquay coastguard rescue team and the Newlyn seaman’s mission who met us when we returned.’

Athough weather conditions are still quite rough due to Storm Gareth the sister vessel ‘Faradet’ has successfully established a tow with the ‘La Fanette’ and it is now safely under tow proceeding to rendezvous with a French tug on route from Brest.

There has been no pollution reported however HM Coastguard will continue to monitor the vessel whilst it’s in UK waters.

Statement from Sennen Cove Lifeboat Station

“Wednesday 13th March
The lifeboat launched just after midnight to assist the French trawler La Fanette, disabled, with 6 persons on board, some 10 miles west-northwest of Sennen Cove.
The lifeboat arrived with the trawler an hour later in severe conditions with a swell peaking near 20ft (roughly a two-storey house) and winds gusting to over 70mph.
Another trawler had attempted to pass a tow without success. After careful consideration the lifeboat crew decided that the risk of incurring damage and / or injuries to the crew in attempting to pass a tow – and subsequently attempting to tow the trawler – was too great, and the lifeboat stood by the vessel.
The rate of drift would have put the trawler ashore in roughly three hours. With this in mind, the vessel`s crew deployed their trawling gear and warps, which dramatically reduced the rate of drift and stabilised the situation.
Having consulted within their organisation at the highest level; also with counter-pollution authorities, the trawler`s owners and insurers, the Coastguard advised that the crew would be evacuated by helicopter.
In what the lifeboat crew described as a brilliant piece of flying, the 6 crewmen were evacuated by the coastguard helicopter – the operation has been widely described elsewhere on facebook and other media.
Penlee lifeboat had also been launched around 0330 to provide further cover to the overall operation, and endured a very poor passage around the Runnelstone and The Longships.
With the trawler`s crew safe, the lifeboats were released roughly around 0500 and both lifeboats proceeded to Newlyn, as conditions were way too poor for recovery at Sennen Cove.
The trawler was left anchored by her fishing gear. She dragged this over a few miles and was eventually taken in tow in slightly improved conditions by her sister trawler later in the afternoon and towed back to France.

Whilst this station traditionally does not seek publicity and is happy just to `get on with it`, working out of one of the most hazardous locations in the country, this event must not be left to pass without heaping huge praise on our crew. The conditions on Wednesday morning were very likely the worst that Sennen Cove Lifeboat has launched into since the `Julian Paul` job in 1994 – and may very well have been more severe than that night.
Wednesday`s crew … Ollie George; Richard Brown; Dan Shannon; Kirstan Gorvin; Jason Woodward; Nick Hichens; Tom Nicholas … did a superb job. Each and every one of you should be hugely proud – you are a great credit both to the Station and the RNLI.”


MCA and RNLI test drones in real-life search and rescue scenarios – Published 02 May 2018 1500z (GMT/UTC)

The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) ran a special event to test the use of drones.

A week-long event took place along a stretch of coastline at St Athan, Wales, with a selection of drones being used in four different search and rescue scenarios to explore how they could be used to help save lives in the future.

The scenarios being tested this week are a shoreline search for a casualty, an offshore search for multiple casualties in the sea, a mud rescue and a communications blackspot where a drone is required to relay information between rescue teams and a casualty on a cliff.

These scenarios will evaluate the potential impact of using drones – also referred to as Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) – on operations. Particular attention will be paid to how drones can work together with existing search and rescue teams and assets, with RNLI lifeboats and an HM coastguard search and rescue helicopter featuring in this week’s rescue scenarios, to enhance lifesaving capability and reduce risk to rescue teams.

Hannah Nobbs, from the RNLI’s innovation team, said: ‘The aim of this event is to provide realistic scenarios and an authentic operating environment to explore the use of drones in multi-agency operations. We hope this will allow us to understand the benefits and limitations of their use in search and rescue activity.

‘This week-long test event is the culmination of around two years of work, where we’ve explored the use of drones in collaboration with key search and rescue partners and industry experts.

‘The RNLI has a proud history of embracing new technology – from cork lifejackets in the 1800s to the design and build of our waterjet-propelled Shannon class lifeboat. So it’s very exciting for us to now explore the potential use of drones in search and rescue activity, in partnership with the maritime & coastguard agency.’

Phil Hanson, aviation technical assurance manager at the MCA, said: ‘The MCA is always ready to embrace working with new technology – especially if that technology could enhance search and rescue efficiency, save more lives and reduce risk to our personnel.

‘There is significant evidence emerging from our overseas counterparts and more locally from UK mountain rescue teams indicating that drones can play a crucial role in emergency response. With this in mind, we welcome the opportunity to take part in these emerging trials to test the viability of drone technology with other rescue resources.

‘It’s too early to comment on how we will move forward from the trials but one thing we all agree on is that drones cannot replace helicopters, coastguard rescue teams or lifeboats. However, it is entirely possible that they could be an additional tool to use in search and rescue.’

There are six different industry partners supporting the event, with these organisations supplying and operating the drones during the exercises. Participating industry partners include Lockheed Martin UK, Scisys and the university of Bath.

A variety of drones are being used in the scenarios, including rotary platforms that offer stability for electro-optic and thermal sensor payloads, a tethered drone and fixed wing platforms that are runway or catapult launched. The test ran from Monday 23 April to Friday 27 April. –

UK (Cornwall): Holidaymaker dies after sea rescue at Newquay, 2 others in hospital – Published 15 Aug 2017 1455z (GMT/UTC)

A 27-year-old man has died after being rescued from the sea at Newquay last night [15 August 2017].

He was among a group of three males who got into difficulty after being caught in a rip tide and swept out to sea at Crantock Beach.

The HM Coastguard Search and Rescue helicopter (Rescue 924) along with two RNLI Lifeboats (@NewquayRNLI ) and the Coastguard Rescue Team from Newquay (@NewquayCRT ), police and ambulance, were sent to the incident around 7.30pm.

The three, who were holidaying in the area, were rescued from the water by two local surfers and then airlifted to Treliske Hospital by the Coastguard helicopter.

The 27-year-old man was pronounced deceased a short time later. His next of kin have been informed. The death is not being treated as suspicious and police will be carrying out enquiries on behalf of the coroner.

The other two swimmers, aged 17 and 18, remain at Treliske Hospital but are not believed to be seriously injured.

Only 5 days ago, there was a mass rescue at Crantock Beach, RNLI lifeguards had to rescue multiple body boarders from a strong current. Two lifeguards were deployed on rescue boards and performed 11 rescues and 15 assists in total. Click here for more details from RNLI


  • Crantock beach is patrolled by RNLI lifeguards between 10am-6pm until 1 October.
  • Wherever possible, you should swim at a lifeguarded beach. Always read and obey the safety signs, usually found at the entrance to the beach. This will help you avoid potential hazards on the beach and identify the safest areas for swimming.
  • In 2013 there were 738 RNLI lifeguard incidents involving body boarders. Between 2006 and 2011 53% of people rescued from rip currents at RNLI lifeguarded beaches were bodyboarding.

Rip current advice issued after tourist swept out to sea dies (link to video)



UK: Overdue diver found by Newquay Coastguard helicopter after search op in Cornwall – Published 09 Aug 2017 1525z (GMT/UTC)

An overdue diver has been located safe and well by the UK Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Newquay after a large search operation was launched earlier today.

R924 cropped

Rescue 924 (based at Newquay) on another tasking.

Just after 1pm today (9 August) UK Coastguard received a VHF Radio broadcast on Channel 16 – the VHF distress frequency – from the diving vessel reporting that the diver was 15 minutes overdue.

The diver, who was with a group of seven other divers, was last seen 1nm north of Mannacles, Cornwall.

An extensive search and rescue operation was launched involving Porthoustock and Mullion Coastguard Rescue Teams, Falmouth and Lizard  RNLI Lifeboats and the UK Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Newquay.  Devon and Cornwall Police were also informed.

The missing diver was located safe and well by the Coastguard helicopter just after 2pm on the shoreline.  Despite being exhausted, he required no medical treatment and has been airlifted to Porthoustock.

Lee Duncan,  Duty Controller for the UK Coastguard said:  ‘We commend the actions of the crew of the diving vessel who called us when the diver was overdue.  The diving vessel had all the right equipment on board including a VHF Radio in case anything went wrong – which is what they used in this case to raise the alarm with us.  Thankfully, the UK Coastguard helicopter was able to locate the missing diver on the shoreline and take his safety.  It was very clear that the dive vessel had a plan in place if anything should go wrong and they did exactly the right thing to contact the Coastguard quickly so we could task our Coastguard, the RNLI Lifeboats and our Coastguard helicopter to assist.

‘Remember if you’re planning on diving in the sea, make sure you are adequately qualified and experienced for the dive that you plan to undertake, keeping a close eye on weather and sea conditions, and making your own fitness a top priority for safe diving.

‘Familiarise yourself with new or different gear before planning deep dives and to always dive within your limits. In an emergency contact the Coastguard immediately.’ – Hm Coastguard

UK: Tynemouth lifeboat rescues world’s only engineless cargo ship, the Tres Hombres – Published 04 Jun 2017 2133z (GMT/UTC)

The world’s only Engineless Sailing Cargo Ship was towed to safety by Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat on Sunday morning (June 4th).

Tynemouth RNLI all weather lifeboat tows the Tres Hombres – the World’s only Engineless Sailing Cargo Ship – to safety at North Shields. (Image: RNLI/Adrian Don)

The lifeboat and volunteer crew members launched in response to a request for help by the skipper of the Brigantine-type sailing ship Tres Hombres.
Earlier in the morning a motor launch belonging to the 32m,128tonne sailing vessel had broken down and had been towed back to her mother ship by Cullercoats RNLI lifeboat.
The skipper of the Tres Hombres then asked for assistance in getting his vessel to a safe harbour because as she is powered only by sail and has no auxiliary engine, she relies on the now broken-down motor launch to maneuver in port. With very strong winds expected on Monday, the vessel could have been in a precarious situation so, after discussions with UK Coastguard, it was decided that the safest option for it was to tow her into the river Tyne.
Tynemouth RNLI’s all weather lifeboat was requested to launch at 10:44 and made best speed to the Tres Hombres which was anchored off Whitley Bay with Cullercoats RNLI lifeboat standing by her.
Once the lifeboat met the sailing ship the volunteer crew quickly got her under tow, while a crew member went on board to ensure the tow ropes remained secure.
The Tres Hombres and her crew of 15 were then taken to North Shields Western Quay without further incident, escorted by Cullercoats RNLI lifeboat who put two crew members ashore on the quay to assist with mooring.
Once the sailing vessel was made fast on the quay the lifeboats returned to their respective stations.
Adrian Don, the spokesman for Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat, said: ‘This is one of the most unusual services our volunteer crew members have carried out and the casualty vessel is unique as the world’s only engineless sailing cargo ship.
‘The Tres Hombres and her crew were in no immediate danger but having no engine and with her launch broken down, they had no means of safely getting into harbour and with very poor weather expected her skipper had no alternative but to ask for assistance.
‘Our volunteers were happy to help and quickly got the vessel into the shelter of the Tyne harbour’. – RNLI

bootje from De Beeldenkeuken on Vimeo.

UK: Five fishermen and two RNLI lifeboat crew were saved from the sea after a dramatic rescue off Shetland – Published 04 Mar 2017 1240z (GMT/UTC)

Five fishermen and two RNLI lifeboat crew were saved from the sea after a dramatic rescue when their trawler sank in bad weather.

(Image: RNLI)

(Image: RNLI)

The seven had to jump into the water just before the ship sank off Shetland as the sea was too rough to bring a lifeboat alongside. The alarm was raised at about 6.50am yesterday when the Lerwick-registered Ocean Way began taking on water. Lerwick RNLI lifeboat and the Coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Sumburgh both rushed to the scene. Two RNLI crew, one of whom often crews on Skerries-based Ocean Way, were transferred to the trawler with a salvage pump. But the skipper decided the trawler could not be saved. The five crew and two RNLI volunteers jumped into the water minutes before the trawler sank at 8.20am. They were picked up by the lifeboat, crewed by eight volunteers, and taken back to Lerwick. A Norwegian fish carrier, the Gerda Saele, had put a pump on board while the helicopter began winching a third pump on board, but Ocean Way’s skipper decided to abandon ship. The trawler crew were all wearing life jackets and had an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon on board, pinpointing their position. Rescuers praised them for having the correct equipment. Lifeboat coxswain Alan Tarby said: “While the third pump was being winched on board the skipper decided to abandon ship and within minutes of him making that decision they got off and it sank, so it was a good call. “The rescue was made much easier because the Ocean Way’s crew were all wearing the correct safety equipment and had undergone safety training. “It was a good outcome even although the vessel was lost, all the crew were unharmed. The lifeboat crew performed very well, especially the two men who were in the water with the fishermen.” The fishermen were checked over by medics in Lerwick but did not need treatment. Mark Rodaway, commander for the UK Coastguard, said: “This was a difficult rescue in awful weather. In the conditions, the lifeboat had a difficult time trying to safely get alongside. “But I’m delighted to say that all five fishermen are safe and well and the fact they were all wearing life jackets ensured that they had the best chance of survival.”

RSOE March 04 2017 11:19 AM (UTC).

More here (inc video):

UK: RAF Search & Rescue Role Ends After 74 Years – Published 04 Oct 2015 1925z (GMT/UTC)

RAF Search & Rescue Role Ends After 74 Years

PROUD RECORD: 34,025 Call-outs completed and 26,853 lives saved

The RAF's final operational search and rescue sortie comes to an end at RMB Chivenor at 12.07 on 4 October 2015. (Image: RAF)

The RAF’s final operational search and rescue sortie comes to an end at RMB Chivenor at 12.07 on 4 October 2015. (Image: RAF)

More than 74 years of continuous life-saving operations by the Royal Air Force in the UK came to an end at 1.00pm today, when the Chivenor duty search and rescue crew was formally relieved from its standby commitment by the United Kingdom Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre. The finale for RAF Search and Rescue in the UK was ‘business as usual’ with a final search and rescue operation taking place in the early hours of this morning.

The crew of the RAF's final operational UK search and rescue sortie: (left to right) Wing Commander 'Sparky' Dunlop (captain and Officer Commanding 22 Squadron), Sergeant Dan Allanson, Sergeant Russ Jenkins and Flight Lieutenant 'PJ' Howard. (Image: RAF)

The crew of the RAF’s final operational UK search and rescue sortie: (left to right) Wing Commander ‘Sparky’ Dunlop (captain and Officer Commanding 22 Squadron), Sergeant Dan Allanson, Sergeant Russ Jenkins and Flight Lieutenant ‘PJ’ Howard. (Image: RAF)

Chivenor is the last of the RAF’s 6 search and rescue bases to hand over responsibility for helicopter search and rescue provision to Bristow Helicopters Ltd.

Official search and rescue statistics show that since 1983 the RAF’s 6 units completed 34,025 callouts and rescued 26,853 persons in distress.

The final RAF crew to hold operational search and rescue standby commitment in the UK: (left to right) Sergeant Doug Bowden, Flight Lieutenant Ayla Holdom, Flight Lieutenant Christian 'Taff' Wilkins and Flight Sergeant Chris Scurr.(Image: RAF)

The final RAF crew to hold operational search and rescue standby commitment in the UK: (left to right) Sergeant Doug Bowden, Flight Lieutenant Ayla Holdom, Flight Lieutenant Christian ‘Taff’ Wilkins and Flight Sergeant Chris Scurr.(Image: RAF)

Other Reports


Chivenor hands over air rescue services to private firm

AgustaWestland AW189 in Coastguard livery operated by Bristow

AgustaWestland AW189 in Coastguard livery operated by Bristow

An RAF air rescue team based at Chivenor in north Devon has handed over its role to a private firm.

Bristow took over from the military at RMB Chivenor at 13:00 BST and will fly out of St Athan in south Wales.

The handover was delayed by four days because Bristow said it needed extra time.

Aberdeen-based Bristow won a 10-year contract to take over the service, which is being privatised around the UK.

The £1.6bn search and rescue deal with Bristow ends 70 years of search and rescue from the RAF and Royal Navy.


Well done RAF! – Goaty 🙂


UK Search & Rescue helicopters to be cut by nearly 50% – 300313 1650z

UK Government plan to close 50% of UK Coastguard Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres – Updated 07 Feb 2013 0001Z:

Privatising Search and Rescue:

Could this be the coalition government’s biggest cock-up yet?:

Support flaring for Clyde Coastguard, Scotland – Published 03 Sept 2012 1440Z:

Up to 700 refugees feared dead after “worst massacre ever seen in the Mediterranean” (UN) – Major search & rescue op under way – Published 190415 1630z (GMT/UTC)


A ship carrying 700 migrants has capsized off the Libyan coast, the Italian news agency Ansa reported on Sunday, adding that many are feared dead.

Coastguard vessels rescued 28 people after the accident was reported around midnight, it said, giving no source for its report. The Times of Malta said migrants rushed to one side of the boat to alert a passing vessel, prompting the ship to capsize. The accident occurred some 200 kilometres south of the Italian island of Lampedusa, the Times of Malta reported. The rescue operation continues.

Sunday, 19 April, 2015 at 11:49 (11:49 AM) UTC RSOE

Other News Reports

Sky News

15:22, UK, Sunday 19 April 2015

Search As Hundreds Of Boat Migrants Feared Dead

The capsizing of a boat, with up to 700 people on board, may be the “worst massacre ever seen in the Mediterranean”, says the UN.

Hundreds of people are feared drowned after a fishing boat trying to smuggle migrants to Europe capsized off Libya, the UN refugee agency says.

A major search and rescue operation by air and sea is taking place after the vessel, with up to 700 on board, went down about 120 miles south of the Italian island of Lampedusa.

It is believed to have overturned when migrants moved to one side of the overcrowded 20-metre long boat in a desperate bid to get off and be rescued as a merchant ship approached.

At least 28 people were saved in the Mediterranean, while there were other reports of 50 survivors.

The alarm was raised at about midnight and the Italian coastguard and navy are continuing to search for survivors.


Mediterranean migrants: Hundreds feared dead after boat capsizes

Media caption Aerial footage from the Italian coastguard shows recovery workers scouring Libyan waters

Hundreds of people are feared to have drowned after a boat carrying up to 700 migrants capsized in the Mediterranean Sea, the Italian coastguard says.

A major rescue operation is under way after the vessel, thought to be just 20m (70ft) long, capsized at midnight local time in Libyan waters south of the Italian island of Lampedusa.

So far 28 people have been rescued and 24 bodies retrieved.

At least 900 other migrants have died crossing the Mediterranean this year.

The UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, said the latest sinking could amount to the largest loss of life during a migrant crossing to Europe.

Live: Follow the latest developments

Italian naval and coastguard ships, the Maltese Navy and cargo vessels, along with three helicopters, are all involved in the rescue operation, 130 miles (210km) off the coast of Lampedusa and 17 miles (27km) from the Libyan coast.

The Italian coastguard’s spokesman told the BBC the operation was still focused on search and rescue, “but in time it will be a search [for bodies] only”.

Mediterranean migrants


Migrants rescued 10-17 April


Migrants died attempting the crossing between 1 Jan and 15 April

  • 31,500 Migrants have arrived from North Africa so far this year
  • 218,000 Estimated to have crossed the Mediterranean in 2014
  • 3,500 Migrants died attempting the crossing last year

The migrants reportedly fell overboard when they rushed to draw the attention of the passing Portuguese merchant ship King Jacob, causing their ship to capsize.

The Italian coastguard says the 28 survivors and 24 bodies are now on its vessel the Gregoretti.

Lampedusa is scrambling to react to the latest horror in the seas off its coastline. Much of the harbour has emptied. Coastguard, customs and fishing boats all left before dawn to help with the rescue.

Marta Bernardini works for the charity Mediterranean Hope, which is based on the island and works with migrants. She told the BBC: “We are very sad. It’s so difficult for us who live and work in Lampedusa every day, to know that a lot of people die in this way, in the Mediterranean Sea.”

Lampedusa is the most southerly point of Italy – nearer Africa than the Italian mainland. Locals say that since January – when the EU took control of patrolling Europe’s maritime borders – between 9,000 and 10,000 migrants have arrived on the island.

There are currently 1,000 migrants in a detention centre on Lampedusa – an island of 5,000 people.

Maltese PM Joseph Muscat said rescuers were “literally trying to find people alive among the dead floating in the water”.

Mr Muscat told the BBC: “What is happening now is of epic proportions. If Europe, if the global community continues to turn a blind eye… we will all be judged in the same way that history has judged Europe when it turned a blind eye to the genocide of this century and last century.”

Pope Francis expressed his “deepest sorrow” over the sinking and appealed to the international community to prevent such incidents from happening again.

Rescuers have so far found few bodies or survivors
An Italian coastguard official looks at the rescue area from the Rome operations room

“These are men and women like us who seek a better life. Hungry, persecuted, injured, exploited, victims of wars. They were looking for happiness,” he said.

It was the Pope’s second appeal in less than 24 hours. On Saturday, he backed a call by Italy for the EU to intervene to stop more lives from being lost.

The EU has been criticised for ending its maritime rescue operation, Mare Nostrum, last year. Some EU members said they could not afford it and expressed concerns that it was encouraging more migrants. The EU now runs a more limited border control operation called Triton.

While Mare Nostrum had a monthly budget of €9.5m ($10.3m; £9.6m) and covered much of the Mediterranean, Triton’s budget is less than a third of that at €2.9m ($3.1m), and its remit extends only into Maltese and Italian waters.

The migrants tried to get the attention of this passing Portuguese vessel
Pope Francis urged international leaders to act decisively to prevent further tragedies

The UNHCR said that migrant boats had carried 13,500 people into Italian waters last week alone.

Justin Forsyth, chief executive of aid group Save the Children, urged the EU to restart rescue operations.

“The scale of what is happening in the Mediterranean is not an accident, it is a direct result of our policy,” he said.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the recent wave of migrant boat disasters was “unacceptable”.

“We have said too many times ‘never again’. Now is time for the European Union as such to tackle these tragedies without delay,” she said.

EU foreign ministers will meet to discuss the migrant issue on Monday.

Last year, a record 170,000 people fleeing poverty and conflict in Africa and the Middle East made the perilous crossing to Italy. Thousands died making the journey.

Recent Mediterranean migrant disasters

Oct 2013: More than 360 people, mostly Eritreans and Somalis, die as their boat sinks off Lampedusa.

Sept 2014: At least 300 migrants drown off Malta when people smugglers ram a boat after its occupants refuse to move to a smaller one. Survivors said it was “mass murder”.

Feb 2015: At least 300 migrants feared drowned as four dinghies get into trouble after leaving Libyan coast in bad weather.

April 12, 2015: Some 400 migrants feared drowned after their vessel capsizes off Libya.

April 19, 2015: About 650 migrants feared drowned as boat capsizes in Libyan waters south of Lampedusa.

RTE News

EU plans meeting after 700 migrants drown off Libyan coast

Sunday 19 April 2015 15.07

1 of 2
Personnel in the control room room of the Italian Coast Guard in Rome help coordinate relief efforts
Personnel in the control room room of the Italian Coast Guard in Rome help coordinate relief efforts
A boat transporting migrants arrives in the port of Messina yesterday after a rescue operation at sea
A boat transporting migrants arrives in the port of Messina yesterday after a rescue operation at sea

The European Union said it is organising an urgent meeting of foreign and interior ministers after the latest migrant boat disaster in the Mediterranean was feared to have killed up to 700 people.

In a statement, the European Commission said: “For as long as there is war and hardship in our neighbourhood near and far, people will continue to seek a safe haven on European shores.

“And as long as countries of origin and transit do not take action to prevent these desperate trips, people will continue to put their lives at risk.”
Full story here:

Italy PM: Don’t leave us to deal with migrant crisis alone

Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has urged other European countries not to leave his country alone in dealing with the increasing number of migrants being trafficked across the Mediterranean.

Speaking after a shipwreck which is estimated to have left hundreds of people dead, Renzi said Italy often works alone in saving migrants by both blocking trafficking from Libya and rescuing those that are left stranded at sea.

Last updated Sun 19 Apr 2015

UK: Body of missing woman recovered by lifeboats from Filey and Flamborough – Published 180315 0915z (GMT/UTC)

The body of a woman has been recovered by RNLI volunteer crews from Filey and Flamborough in a prolonged and difficult combined operation in the early hours of Tuesday 17 March.

Shortly before 11pm on Monday 16 March, Humber Coastguard requested the launch of both Filey lifeboats to ascertain that an object spotted by a crew from Sea King helicopter Rescue 128 was indeed a missing person for whom numerous Coast Rescue Teams and Police Officers had been searching in the vicinity of the RSPB Bird Sanctuary about 4 miles south of Filey.

Filey’s Mersey class all-weather lifeboat, The Keep Fit Association, launched under the command of Coxswain/Mechanic, Barry Robson, to escort and provide some safety cover in the pitch darkness and heavy swell for Filey’s inshore lifeboat, Braund, with a crew comprising: Richard Johnson (helm), Paul Wilson and Tom Barkley.
It was necessary for a member of the inshore lifeboat crew to go ashore at high water in a heavy swell and darkness to check the condition of the casualty. This proved to be a very difficult and prolonged task and led to Flamborough’s Atlantic 85 Lifeboat, Elizabeth Jane Palmer, being asked to assist.
Eventually, the casualty was brought out to the all-weather lifeboat from where she was handed over to Flamborough inshore lifeboat to take back to South Landing, Flamborough.
Some 6 hours after the initial call-out both Filey’s lifeboats returned to the beach at Coble Landing and were recovered onto their respective carriages.
Barry Robson, Filey Lifeboat Coxswain / Mechanic said: “This incident tested both lifeboat crews as it turned out to be much more difficult and longer than expected. Both the Filey and Flamborough teams showed real professionalism dealing with the situation and for both volunteer crews their extensive training paid off. Thanks must also go to all the Coast Rescue Team members who were there.”
He added: “We are very sorry that we could do nothing for the lady and our thoughts are with the family at this time” –

John Ward
Lifeboat Press Officer at Filey Lifeboat Station.

UK: Cliff rescue at Sewerby, East Yorkshire, after 17 yr old tried to rescue dog over cliff edge – Published 300115 1827z

My PhotoFriday, 30 January 2015
A seventeen year old who went after his dog after it had gone over a cliff edge had to be rescued himself.
Humber Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre received a 999 call from the youth’s mother at 3.15pm on 29th January to say he was stuck on cliffs at Sewerby, close to the MRCC.
His mother said he had tried to rescue their dog which had gone over the cliff edge. The dog had made its own way back, leaving the 17 year old stuck on an icy ledge.
Humber Coastguard immediately sent the Coastguard Rescue Teams from Bridlington and Filey to the scene to assess the situation. On arrival the Coastguard Rescue officers made the decision that the quickest and safest method of rescue would be by helicopter so the RAF Rescue Helicopter based at Leconfield rescued the youth from the cliff.

Watch Manager Mike Puplett said
‘This was a well executed rescue and was resolved quickly.
‘However my message once again is for dog owners to keep their pets on a lead when they are close to cliff edges.

‘Also, members of the public should never climb or descend cliffs in order to carry out a rescue themselves.
‘The weather on that day was inclement, and a snow flurry had just engulfed the area, making the cliffs even more treacherous.’


UK: Searchers for missing trawler Z85 Morgenster in English Channel find bodies – Published 290115 1900z (GMT/UTC)

My Photo

Friday, 30 January 2015
The Search and Rescue operation looking for the missing fishing vessel which had been fishing in the Dover Strait is being co-ordinated by the French coast guard as it is now in their territorial waters.

Dover Coastguard was initially alerted to the missing vessel on the afternoon of 28th January.

The search is now concentrated on an area four miles from the French coast. Any further involvement of the UK authorities will be at the request of the French coast guard.

Thursday, 29 January 2015
The search continues this morning for a missing fishing vessel which had been fishing in the Dover Strait.
Dover Coastguard was alerted to the disappearance yesterday afternoon. Four crew were known to be onboard.
An RAF helicopter is searching the area along with a French maritime aircraft. Two all-weather lifeboats from Dungeness and Dover are on the scene.
A number of Belgian and Dutch fishing vessels remain on the scene in the area, looking out for any sign of their missing colleagues.
The weather conditions on scene remain challenging.


LifeboatsDungeness and Dover RNLI lifeboats search for missing Belgian fishing trawler

The volunteer lifeboat crews of two Kent RNLI lifeboat stations launched yesterday evening (Wednesday 28 January) to help search for a Belgian fishing trawler in the English Channel.

Dungeness all-weather lifeboat launched at 5.08pm after being tasked by Solent Coastguard to search for the 40m vessel which lost all communication earlier the same day at 1.30pm.

The Belgian-registered trawler, carrying a crew of four people, was situated 10 miles south of Dungeness when all contact was lost.

Hours after the Dungeness RNLI crew launched, Dover Coastguard requested the launch of Dover RNLI lifeboat to assist in the search. The crew launched their all-weather lifeboat just after 7pm.

Also involved in the search were coastguard helicopters Rescue 104 and Rescue 125. It is also understood several other fishing trawlers were assisting with the search.

Chris Ubee, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Dungeness RNLI, said the weather and sea conditions for his crew of five volunteers were challenging at first, but later subsided. He said: ‘In the afternoon there was some strong gusting winds and the sea was very lumpy. That did later calm slightly and by 10pm the crew were searching beneath clear skies, with a moderate breeze and moderate to rough seas.’

However, for the Dover lifeboat crew conditions were set to worsen through the night, with a warning of severe gales expected after 11pmon Wednesday. Billy Hollis, Deputy Launching Authority for Dover RNLI said: ‘Our crew of eight volunteers were tasked to search an area known as Varn Bank, south of Dover.

‘Throughout the evening we were operating approximately eight miles away from where Dungeness lifeboat were searching, which gives an idea of the sizeable search area

’Throughout the evening we were operating approximately eight miles away from where Dungeness lifeboat were searching, which gives an idea of the sizeable search area.’

At midnight, both Dungeness and DOver RNLI lifeboats were still searching for any sign of the missing trawler. The RNLI’s all-weather lifeboats are equipped to search up to 100 nautical miles out to sea. At the speeds they were travelling, it was estimated the lifeboats could search for several days without needing to refuel.

  • Update 7am, Thursday 29 January. Hastings RNLI lifeboat crew were asked to join he search at 12.15am today (Thursday). Dungeness RNLI lifeboat crew were stood down at 12.50am. And at 4.45am, both Dover and Hastings RNLI lifeboats returned to their stations when the search was suspended, possibly to recommence at first light

Press Report

BBC   29 January 2015 Last updated at 17:04

Missing trawler rescue teams find bodies in English Channel

The vessel believed to be missing off Dungeness

The vessel went missing in rough seas and strong winds

Rescuers searching for a Belgian trawler missing in the English Channel with four people on board have recovered two bodies from the sea.

The search for the fishing boat began on Wednesday afternoon when it vanished in rough seas and gale force winds.

The RNLI said the bodies, which were found in the sea off Boulogne, had been recovered back to the French port.

A life jacket and wooden debris were spotted by a French fixed wing aircraft north-west of Boulogne earlier.

Those on board the Z85 Morgenster are believed to be Dutch, Portuguese and Belgian.

A coastguard helicopter, two Kent lifeboats and a French search and rescue helicopter carried out the first search for the trawler, which had been fishing in the Dover Strait.

A number of Belgian and Dutch fishing vessels have also been in the area looking for any signs of the missing vessel.

UK: 5 fishermen rescued off the Hebredies after their boat Iuda Naofa sank – Published 200115 1815z (GMT/UTC)

The Coastguard was notified of a fishing vessel in distress just before 11am this morning. The Iuda Naofa, a 23m Irish fishing vessel, was taking on water 48 miles north of the Butt of Lewis.

The Coastguard Rescue helicopter was requested to attend the scene and drop a salvage pump onto the Iuda Naofa to pump off the ingress of water. However, the vessel became swamped and started to sink.

The Coastguard Rescue helicopter airlifted two of the crew onto the nearby sister fishing vessel, the Star of Hope. The other three crew were transferred by helicopter to the Western Isles hospital, where they are being treated for mild hypothermia.

Coastguard Duty Watch Manager, Paul Tunstall said

“The weather conditions on scene were very rough seas with southerly force 6 winds, evacuating the five crew swiftly and safely before the vessel went down was a great achievement.” –Maritime and Coastguard Agency

“Malin Head Coast Guard assisted in the saving of 5 fishermen off the Hebredies this afternoon. At about 1030 this morning Malin picked up a call for help on medium frequency 2182Khz for the Iuda Naofa taking water. Details taken and passed to MRCC Stornaway who sent out a helicopter. The boat sank. 3 crew airlifted and 2 taken onboard another boat Star of Hope. Only for the Listening watch the IRCG continue to hold on 2182Khz this could have easily ended with loss of life. This is the second 2182 call that Malin has dealt with in recent months both of which resulted in lives been saved. Well done lads.” –Irish Coast Guard

News Reports


Five rescued after fishing boat sinks off Isle of Lewis

Irish vessel Iuda Naofa

Five people were airlifted from the Irish vessel Iuda Naofa when it began to sink

Five crewmen have been rescued after a fishing boat started to sink off the Isle of Lewis.

The Irish vessel Iuda Naofa got into difficulty at about 11:00 when it started taking on water about 48 miles (77km) off the Butt of Lewis.

Stornoway Coastguard helicopter dropped a salvage pump to the crew, but the boat became swamped and started to sink.

Two crewmen were then airlifted to another boat and three to hospital.

The three have been treated at Western Isles Hospital for hypothermia.

The fishing boat has sunk.

Coastguard duty watch manager Paul Tunstall said: “The weather conditions on scene were very rough seas with southerly force 6 winds, evacuating the five crew swiftly and safely before the vessel went down was a great achievement.”

Ireland: 13-year-old boy drowned at reservoir in Drogheda, highlighting the dangers of swimming in areas without lifeguards – Published 240714 2200z

Irish Coast Guard:

Tough call out for emergency services today including Coast Guard units from Drogheda and Rescue 116. RIP.

Boyne Fishermans Rescue and Recovery:

24:07:2014 Drowning accident at reservoir

The Boyne Fishermen’s Rescue & Recovery Service where alerted to a accident today at 16.30 hrs. The call reported a possible drowning accident in the Rose Hall Reservoir in Drogheda.

Our emergency paging system was activated and our mobile unit was dispatched immediately to the scene of the accident. Meanwhile our underwater search team had been alerted and were on route also.

The underwater search team deployed two divers into the reservoir and shortly afterwards they recovered the body of a local Teenager.

The drowning this evening at Rose Hall Reservoir has brought great sadness and shock to the people of Drogheda.

Rose Hall is can be a busy spot in good weather, but it is also very dangerous.

Irish Water Safety has made repeated appeals for awareness of the dangers of swimming in areas without lifeguards, such as quarries, reservoirs, rivers and lakes.

It was a combined effort at this evenings recovery, alongside the Boyne Fishermen’s Rescue & Recovery Service were Drogheda Coast Guard, Drogheda Fire and Rescue, Drogheda Ambulance Service and Drogheda Gardai.

Members of the Boyne Fishermens Rescue and Recovery Service wish to extend its sympathies to the family and friends of the teenager”

Other Reports

RTE IE: Thursday 24 July 2014 21.49

A thirteen-year-old boy has drowned in a lake in Drogheda.

The boy was swimming with two friends when he got into difficulty in a reservoir in Rosehall

Rose Hall Reservoir in Drogheda. (Image:


The boy was swimming with two friends when he got into difficulty in a reservoir in Rosehall in the north of the town this afternoon.

Two girls raised the alarm and the Dundalk Coastguard Unit was alerted at 3.50pm this afternoon.

Members of the coastguard searched the water where the boy had disappeared but were initially unable to find him.

Divers from the Boyne Fishermans Rescue and Recovery joined the search and after almost an hour of searching he was found.

Dermot McConnoran, officer in charge of the Dundalk coastguard unit, said a second tragedy was avoided after another boy went into the reservoir to help his friend and also got into difficulty.

Richard Skelly, a member of Boyne Fishermen Rescue and Recovery said it was heartbreaking knowing the boys parents were behind a cordon while the search took place.

He added it’s “a terrible tragedy and the whole community is in shock this evening”.

Body of 13-year-old boy recovered from water in Drogheda

THE BODY OF a 13-year-old boy has been recovered from a water treatment plant in Drogheda, Co Louth.

It’s reported that he had been swimming with friends when he got into difficulty.

Gardaí say the body was recovered before 5 o’clock this evening after they received a 999 call from a member of the public.

A search and rescue operation was immediately launched and the Coast Guard Helicopter was also dispatched.

The dive unit from the Boyne Fishermen’s Rescue & Recovery Service recovered the body with the assistance of the Drogheda Coast Guard.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The boy’s remains have been taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.

A post mortem will be carried out tomorrow.” –

UK: Public warned about the dangers of ‘tombstoning’ – Published 080714 2115z

Police, Coastguards and councils are warning the public about the dangers of ‘tombstoning’ in Dorset.


Young thrillseekers have been putting their lives at risk by jumping into the sea from a great height – often from the top of cliffs.


There have been reports of youngsters jumping off the East pier at West Bay, narrowly missing boats coming in and out of Bridport Harbour.


Tombstoning can be dangerous for a number of reasons: water depth alters with the tide and it may be shallower than it seems, submerged objects like rocks may not be visible, the shock of cold water may make it difficult to swim and strong currents can rapidly sweep people away.


PC Scott McGregor of Bridport Police, said: “We have had several reports over the last few months, where concerns have been raised by the public about the activity of people jumping off the pier at West Bay. On one occasion colleagues attended to prevent individuals from putting themselves and boat users in the harbour at risk.”


Nic Lonsdale, Duty Watch Manager for Portland Coastguard, said: “Jumping from piers, cliffs, rocks or other structures into the sea can be very dangerous.


“What was a deep pool at lunchtime might be a shallow puddle by teatime due to tidal conditions and you do not know what other hazards might be under the surface.


“According to the Coastguard database, since 2005 there have been 20 deaths and 76 serious injuries caused by tombstoning in the UK.”


Cllr Robert Gould, Leader of West Dorset District Council, said: “Bridport has a very active harbour with boats moving in and out on a regular basis, we strongly advise people against this activity as it is both irresponsible and potentially dangerous.”


Figures from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency show that in the past five years, seven people have been badly hurt from tombstoning in Dorset.


To report a dangerous incident along the coastline, please call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. – MCA



(Not directly related to West Bay)

(Video credit: Kent Police)

This video aims to deter people from being seriously injured, often fatally, each year through tombstoning. The video was produced with the help of local school children and features Sonny Wells, a young man who was paralysed after jumping from a jetty in Hampshire in 2008.

(Video credit: Sunday Sun)

(Video credit: swimmer39274)

UK: London hero plunged into River Thames to save distressed man – Praised by Tower RNLI Lifeboat crew – Published 070714 1845z

A have-a-go hero plunged into the River Thames this morning to help a man who moments earlier had jumped from a bridge at the start of the capital’s rush hour.

London crew praise ‘good Samaritan’, Ben Corr, who entered river to save distressed man 07 July 2014 (Photo credit: Ben Corr via RNLI)

 Lifeboat crew members from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution launched just after 7am today after reports from London Coastguard that a man was in the River Thames, drifting dangerously close to the base of the London Eye attraction

The lifeboat crew arrived just moments later to find that two men were in the water; one had entered the river to help another man who it is believed had deliberately jumped from the pedestrian footpath alongside Charing Cross rail bridge.

Ben Corr, a 36 year old statistician, had been running to work on the South Bank when he was flagged down by a woman. He took up the story: ‘The lady was quite shaken up – she was pointing to a man in the river and said she’d just seen him jump from the bridge. She was clutching a life ring but wanted some help in throwing it out to him.

‘I did try but he was quite far out and the ring missed him. Despite our efforts to coerce him towards it, he was just flailing in the water. At first I held back because I know the emergency services always advise the public not to enter the water in times like that, in case they get into danger as well. But after a moment I decided I had to – so I climbed down onto the foreshore, entered the river, and swam across to him.’

Ben said the man was very distressed and was pushing him away at first, but eventually agreed to take the life ring: ‘I pulled him back to the south bank wall but there was no way to get out. The woman who had stopped me explained that she had called the police and barely a minute later the lifeboat crew arrived.’

Tower lifeboat crew – consisting of helmsmen Craig Burn and Stuart Morrison, and volunteer Jenny Barnett – pulled both men aboard and returned to Tower

Tower RNLI Lifeboat crew – Pictured (left to right) are Stuart Morrison, Craig Burn, and Jenny Barrett (Credit: RNLI/James Oxley)

RNLI lifeboat station, situated beneath Waterloo Bridge. Craig said: ‘We got them as they were floating down by the base of the London Eye. There is some machinery there and we were concerned about them floating close to that, but we got to them in time.

‘We met with our ambulance service colleagues back at the station and they treated the man who had entered from the bridge. He was cold and shaken and still distressed, and was taken away by ambulance crews for further treatment.

‘Ben stayed with us for a short while and we gave him blankets and lots of tea and biscuits. Ben is right that we don’t advise people to go into the water to help people, but he assessed the situation and made a measured, very brave decision to go in. What he did was hugely commendable and we take our hat – or helmet – off to him: there is one man out there today in London who would surely have lost his life if it hadn’t been for Ben and the lifeboat crew.’

(Video credit: RNLI)

Published on Jul 7, 2014

Running along the South Bank this morning, Ben Corr was expecting a normal Monday in the office. That changed when he was alerted to a man struggling in the Thames. After trying to throw a life ring to the casualty, Ben carefully weighed up the situation & made the decision to go in and swim to the casualty. Meanwhile, Tower lifeboat crew had been alerted & were heading up river. They found both men floating near the London Eye and safety pulled them on board. We don’t advise people to carry out rescues themselves, but Ben made a very measured and selfless decision to go in – and for that we take our hat off to him – RNLI

UK: London Thames pleasure boat in collision with Tower Bridge. 10 injured – Published 040614 1400z

File:Tower Bridge (aerial view).jpg

Tower Bridge (aerial view) Bob Collowan, CC-BY-SA-3.0, Wikimedia Commons (Click image for more about Tower Bridge)

London lifeboat crew treat injured as Thames cruiser collides with Tower Bridge

Lifeboat crew members from the RNLIs Tower lifeboat station have treated a woman with a head wound after a River Thames city cruiser collided with Tower Bridge.

The lifeboat crew, based below Waterloo Bridge, were tasked by London Coastguard shortly after midday today (Wednesday) after the City Cruises vessel Millennium Diamond was involved in the collision.

The woman, believed to be in her 60s, is believed to have fallen down a set of steel steps, sustaining a head injury and bruises to her ribs.

The lifeboat crew were the first on scene and treated the womans head wound until London Ambulance Service paramedics arrived and took her away for further treatment.

Kevin Maynard, one of the four Tower RNLI lifeboat crew members on the lifeboat, explained how the drama unfolded: We launched just after midday and when we arrived the boat had come alongside St Katherines Pier by Tower Bridge. We understand the woman had been standing at the top of some steel steps when the collision happened and the impact knocked her down.

Although the original call to us was related to that one lady, while we were on scene a further nine people came forward to say they had been injured. We treated the woman by giving her oxygen and using blankets to keep her warm, as well as dressing her wound and placing her on a board to protect her spine. We looked after her until London Ambulance Service arrived to take her away for further assessment.

The lifeboat crew consisted of helmsman Kevin Maynard as well as David Norman, Craig Burns, and volunteer life boatman Neil Withers.

The crew are currently remained on scene to assist where necessary (correct as at 1.50pm)

Tower RNLI is one of three London lifeboat stations serving the entire length of the Thames from the estuary up to Teddington Lock. The RNLI remains a charity that relies on donations and voluntary contributions for its lifesaving work. RNLI


London Coastguard is coordinating the response to an incident on the Thames in which a pleasure boat, the Millennium Diamond, was in collision with Tower Bridge.

10 people are believed to be injured.

Emergency services and the RNLI are on the scene.

Other Reports

A City Cruises boat collided with the south pier of Tower Bridge this lunchtime. MPS Marine Policing Unit attended the scene andreported that two people were injured.

The boat docked at St Katharines pier and one passenger was removed on a stretcher and taken to hospital while the other was treated ashore. Minor damages to the vessel are reported.

Tower Bridge remains open to pedestrians and road traffic. –

More inc photos at


UK: Man rescued after being thrown from out of control speedboat in Teignmouth, Devon – Published 160514 1645z

A mans had a lucky escape after being thrown from his speedboat in Teignmouth Quay.

Brixham Coastguard received a 999 call from a member of the public just after 10am this morning, reporting that a man had been hurled into the water from his speedboat. The boat was then going round in circles and the man was trying to swim away to safety.

The Teignmouth Coastguard Rescue Team and the Teignmouth RNLI inshore lifeboat were sent to the scene. The lifeboat crew managed to bring the boat under control by cutting the engine. The man had been picked up by another boat nearby and was brought ashore where he was met by Coastguard Rescue Officers. Hes since been taken to hospital to be checked over, but doesnt appear to have been badly hurt.

Andre Huber, Watch Manager at Brixham Coastguard, said:

It appears the man took off his kill cord as it was too short to allow him to tie up his boat. Unfortunately, he accidentally knocked the throttle, the boat jerked forward and he fell into the water. Without the kill cord, the boats engine didnt cut out and then locked into driving round and round in circles.

Luckily he did have a lifejacket on and was able to quickly swim away to safety and the boat was soonbrought under control.

We always recommend people wear their kill cord at all times when on the boat. Make sure its a suitable length so you can move around your vessel, particularly if youre on your own.

As were set for fine weather this weekend, wed just like to remind everyone to have fun but stay safe on our coastline. If you get into difficulty, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard, or get in touch with us via VHF channel 16.

Teignmouth lifeboat crew stop out of control speedboat

(Video credit: RNLI)

Published on May 16, 2014

A man who fell overboard from his speedboat knocked the throttle as he went, leaving the speedboat to spin out of control. He had been wearing a kill cord, but had taken it off to moor the boat when the accident happened. The volunteer crew of Teignmouth lifeboat raced to the scene and managed to stop the out of control boat. The man, who was wearing a lifejacket, was rescued and taken to hospital as a precaution.

Scotland: Barra and Tobermory lifeboats assist stricken cargo ship 30 miles SW of Tiree (Video) – Published 140414 1548z

Tobermory RNLI lifeboat returned to its station this morning after a 17 hour, 180 mile rescue mission to assist a stricken cargo ship. Barra Island RNLI lifeboat will be returning to stand by later today (13 April 2013).

The Tobermory crew relieved the Barra Island lifeboat last night and stood by the 88 metre cargo ship (G: MV Wilson Gdynia) which is now drifting some 30 miles south west of Tiree in rough weather. Given that the cargo ship is drifting in a north westerly direction and is not in danger of encountering any hazards at present, Stornoway Coastguard stood down the Tobermory lifeboat at daybreak.

Having spent more than 14 hours on the ‘shout’ yesterday, Barra Island lifeboat will return to the cargo ship to provide assistance this evening until the arrival of an ocean going tug which is currently en route from Aberdeen and is expected to arrive in the early hours of Monday morning. The cargo ship has eight crew on board.

Tobermory RNLI Coxswain Andrew McHaffie said: ‘This was a long shout in difficult conditions with seas of up to ten metres at times.’

(Video credit: RNLI)

Published on Apr 14, 2014

A 88-metre cargo ship with steering problems battling gale force winds and seas of up to ten metres 15 miles west of the Skerryvore light house. Lifeboats from Barra and Tobermory stood by for over 24 hours.

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland from 236 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 180 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

Wales: EXERCISE – Coastguard Rescue Teams, RNLI lifeboats, RAF search & rescue helicopter, Police, Fire & Ambulance attend major incident in Cardiff Bay – 020414 1100z

(Photo: Barry Coastguard)

Embedded image permalink

(Photo: )


Swansea Coastguard was first contacted just before 11am this morning to reports that two boats had collided in Cardiff Bay.
The Penarth, Barry and Chepstow Coastguard Rescue Teams have been sent to the scene, along with the Penarth and Barry RNLI lifeboats and the RAF search and rescue helicopter from RMB Chivenor. Police, fire and ambulance crews are also in attendance.
At this time, it is not clear how many people were on board and the extent of any injuries. A search and rescue mission is ongoing.” – MCA

“Barry Coastguard at Cardiff Bay with all emergency services, carrying out major incident training. With Penarth and Chepstow Coastguard . Air sea rescue have been tasked to assist in a mock rescue in the Bay” – Barry Coastguard

IoM: Search for missing woman Mrs Catherine Pridham, continues amid growing concern – 010414 1605z

Police issue statementPolice issue statement regarding missing person Catherine 'Cathy' Pridham about the continued search for Mrs Catherine PRIDHAM.

“Catherine, who is 60 years old, was reported as missing yesterday. Her car was located the same day at Niarbyl on the west coast of the Island

There is a possibility that she has entered the sea in the area of Niarbyl Bay. We would ask that the members of the public who are in this area report any sightings to the Police or Coastguard.

Police Officers are providing support to the family at this very difficult time.” – IoM Police 31 Mar 2014

“Sergeant Gavin Callow said : “At this time Cathy has not been found. As previously detailed it does seem likely that she entered the sea in the area of Niarbyl on Sunday morning.

Cathy’s family have told us she had recently found out that she was suffering from cancer, having been in a period of remission for some years. Her car was found at Niarbyl, and items of hers were found on the shore nearby. As you can imagine, the family are very distressed and are hoping their loving wife and mother is found as soon as possible.”

Sergeant Callow added; “Emergency rescue services have made searches of the surrounding areas, concentrating on the shoreline and sea. They will continue to do so. Offers of help from the Public have been noted and are very much appreciated but at this time we ask that the organised searches are left to properly trained and equipped personnel. This is because of the challenging nature of some of the coastline in the immediate area.

We will keep you updated with any developments. Cathy’s family are most grateful of the support of the Public and the efforts made to locate Cathy. They have asked that the Public and media respect their privacy at this difficult time. If members of the Public are in the area as part of their normal routine please contact us if you see anything you think might be related to the search.”” – IoM Police 01 Apr 2014

“Mon 31/03/14 – The team have continued to search for the missing person in the Niarbyl area along with Peel Coastguard and the RNLI, we’ve now stood down for the evening as darkness sets in. Our thoughts are with the missing person and their family.” – Port Erin Coastguard

“Tues 01/04/14 – Ruby Clery and her volunteer crew to launch again at 6 00pm (BST) to resume the search for the missing local lady.” – Peel RNLI Lifeboat


Antarctica: Australasian Antarctic Expedition ship rescue set to begin, 74 aboard – Updated 010114 2230z

Sailing route icebreaker MV Akademik Shokalskiy (Image:


In the Home of the Blizzard with the AAE

(Video credit: Intrepid Science)

Published on Dec 25, 2013

A short tour of the outside of our expedition vessel, the MV Akademik Shokalskiy, during todays blizzard. The good news is the atmospheric pressure is rising, suggesting the worst of the conditions are behind us. Meanwhile, the science program continues.

An Update on the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (Boxing Day 2013)

(Video credit: Intrepid Science)

Published on Dec 25, 2013

A short movie showing the blizzard conditions were currently experiencing. On Christmas Eve we realised we could not get through the sea ice, in spite of being just 2 nautical miles from open water. We hoped the conditions would change but several low pressure systems have passed over us during the last few days and these have held the ice fast. The weather is predicted to improve significantly tomorrow. We just wanted to let all our family and friends know there is no risk to the vessel and everyone is well.

You can learn more about the Australasian Antarctic Expedition at For regular updates we will be posting details on Twitter @profchristurney, +Intrepid Science at Google+, and the Guardian Antarctica Live website. The BBC World Service are also embedded in the team and broadcasting a weekly programme on the expedition (including updates on our work) on Discovery. We are using the Inmarsat satellite system to provide live communications in the field.

AAE Update 27 December

(Video credit: Intrepid Science)

Published on Dec 26, 2013

Its good to be out of the blizzard! Yesterdays low pressure system has passed and the winds have dropped. Weve just heard the Chinese icebreaker is 20 kilometres away but the bad news is this is also the distance to the sea ice edge; a lot further than when we were trapped. If you look carefully over my left shoulder you might be able to see water sky; the dark clouds reflecting the open water on their underside. This is the most likely route the ice breakers will take to reach us.

Arrival of the Chinese icebreaker Snow Dragon

(Video credit: Intrepid Science)

Published on Dec 27, 2013

The Chinese icebreaker Snow Dragon (Xue Long) has arrived on the horizon. If the vessel continues progressing at 2 knots, it should be alongside the Shokalskiy in 2-3 hours. There are a lot of happy faces on board!

Preparing the helipad for the AAE evacuation

(Video credit: Intrepid Science)

Published on Dec 31, 2013

We now know the Australian icebreaker Aurora australis cannot break through to us so a helicopter evacuation seems the most likely. Led by expeditioner Ben Maddison and in good voice, the team pack down the snow and ice next to the Shokalskiy in preparation for a good weather window. Fingers crossed!

Happy New Year from the AAE

(Video credit: Intrepid Science)

Streamed live on Dec 31, 2013

Happy New Year everyone from the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2014!

UK: Man rescued from sea after multiple explosions onboard boat 6 miles off Littlehampton – 281113 1435z

A man has been rescued after he abandoned a boat which suffered multiple explosions during a fire.
He had tried fighting the blaze, but abandoned the Margaret Rose six miles off Littlehampton when it become engulfed with flames.
The skipper called 999 and Solent Coastguard coordinated a rescue operation to recover him from his life-raft around10amtoday.
The Coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Lee-on-Solent was deployed, along with RNLI lifeboats from Shoreham and Littlehampton. Littlehampton Coastguard Rescue Team were also on standby.
The man was recovered by the Littlehampton RNLI lifeboat and returned safely to shore. He didnt sustain any injuries.
Shoreham RNLI lifeboat remains on scene to monitor the boat, which is still on fire.
Jenna Smith, Watch Officer for Solent Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, said: This was a very dangerous situation and required a swift response.
The boat was well alight and very hazardous, as it is carrying around 150 litres of diesel and two gas canisters.
We continue to monitor the situation and have advised boats to stay away from the immediate vicinity of the incident.
Update: 11:55am

Thecasualtywas met and checked over by Littlehampton Coastguard Rescue Team. He had no apparent injuries.

Update: 12:15pm

There are no reports of any pollution.

Update: 1:10pm

TheMargaret Rose has now sunk. MCA

Littlehampton Lifeboat on Facebook:

Littlehamptons RNLI Atlantic 85 Iifeboat Blue Peter 1 launched on service at 9:30am to the motor vessel Margaret Rose which was on fire 8 miles south east of Littlehampton harbour entrance.

The owner had taken to his liferaft and paddled away from the craft and watched with dismay. He was wearing a lifejacket and called for help using his mobile phone.
Littlehampton Lifeboat arrived on scene at 9:49am coinciding with the arrival of the coastguard rescue helicopter. The lifeboat crew found that the sole occupant of the fishing boat had successfully launched and climbed aboard his liferaft. The survivor was unharmed, and was recovered from the liferaft by the lifeboat crew and returned to the lifeboat station. Shoreham Lifeboat remained on scene and stood by the burning wreck, which has subsequently sunk.Our photos (G: top & below) taken by the lifeboat crew show the burning boat as the lifeboat approached, and the liferaft as it is recovered ashore, photo by Eddie Mitchell. (All photos credit: RNLI)


RNLI | Goaty’s News

Bahamas: Up to 30 Haitian migrants drown after sinking, over 100 others rescued – 281113 1258z

Haitian migrants drown after sinking in the Bahamas

BBC 27 November 2013 Last updated at 02:17Z (GMT/UTC)

Up to 30 migrants from Haiti have drowned after a vessel ran aground and capsized.

The US Coast Guard said over 100 people has been rescued from the overturned boat near Staniel Cay in the Bahamas.

Babita Sharma reports.

UK: Start Bay Search – 2 men rescued off Devon coast after their motor vessel broke down and they began drifting out to sea – 051013 1830z


Saturday, 5 October 2013

(Image: torquayheraldexpress)




Two men have been rescued off the Devon coast after their motor vessel broke down and they began drifting out to sea.



At 1.18pm Brixham Coastguard was alerted to a faint VHF radio broadcast from the motor vessel Flying Fox calling Hello Hello. Brixham Coastguard spoke with the caller who said they had broken down and were drifting out to sea and believed they were in a position one or two nautical miles off Blackpool Sands, Devon but the vessel was finally located some five miles from this location.



Brixham Coastguard was contacted by the skipper of a nearby vessel called Shiraz who agreed to go the position and locate the motor boat but was unable to find it. Dartmouth Coastguard Rescue Team was called out to search from the shore for the boat. The VHF radio contact had been lost and a PAN PAN message was broadcast to all vessels in the area to keep a look out.



The casualty used a mobile phone to call Brixham Coastguard who asked them to use red flares which were not spotted. Brixham Coastguard asked the casualty to use their buoyant orange smoke floatand requested that the merchant vessel NCC Najem, which was transiting the area, look for the smoke ahead of them on their port side but in fact the crew of the tanker NCC Najem spotted the smoke five miles in the opposite direction and to their stern.



Once located, the motor vessel was towed to Dartmouth by the fishing vessel William Harvey.



Deputy Watch Manager at Brixham Coastguard, Matt Thornhill says,



Be well prepared when you set out to sea and make sure you have the right communications equipment and know what to do in an emergency. Knowledge of emergency radio procedures are important to ensure your broadcast is recognised as a call for help.


The two men on this boat could not give an accurate location to the Coastguard when they got into difficulty and this hampered efforts to find them. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency recommend using a VHF DSC radio linked to a GPS on your boat which can quickly give an accurate position in an emergency. – MCA

UK: Teen rescued in rough seas by Cullercoats Lifeboat, aided by unknown local surfer. Highlights spring tides and ground swell danger – 080913 2310z

Following a 999 call made by a member of the public reporting a young boy in difficulties in the sea at Browns Bay in Whitley Bay, Humber Coastguard requested the launch of RNLI Cullercoats lifeboat at 5.34pm on Saturday 7 September.


Within 8 minutes the lifeboat, Hylton Burdon with the volunteer crew of Peter Clark, Leading Helmsman, Andy Small and Curtis Dunn were at the scene. Directed by volunteers of Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade, they found a 13 year old local boy floundering in the water and in difficulty. He was only about 15 yards from the coastline but with the tide at its highest and a large sea swell he was unable to get back to the rocks nearby and was getting very tired.


Fortunately, whilst the lifeboat was making its way to the scene a local surfer who was walking nearby was also alerted to the boys danger. He entered the water with his surfboard and was able to reach the boy and maintain his position in the area of the water.


Once at the scene one of the crew jumped into the sea and was able to get to the casualty and with the help of his fellow volunteer crew members he was able to get the boy on-board the lifeboat with the aid of a safety rope. The surfer was able to make his own way back to the safety of the nearby rocks.

Teenager rescued from water

Credit: RNLI/Michael Scott
Teenager rescued from water

Casualty helped in water byvolunteer crew member

Credit: RNLI/Michael Scott
Casualty helped in water byvolunteer crew member


The teenager’s welfare was immediately assessed on the lifeboat where it was ascertained that he had been in the water for some time and was very cold and possibly suffering from shock. He was given a waterproof/windproof covering and taken back to the lifeboat station where he was met and assessed by a Paramedic from the North East Ambulance Service. The teenager was given medical attention at the station and was released back to his family 1 hour later.


Peter Clark, Leading Helmsman Cullercoats RNLI said: Browns Bay is notorious at high tide for its dangerous sea swells and the rocks in the area create large waves. Once we arrived he was very tired and weak, any longer in the water and it may have been a different situation. I would like to thank the local surfer who kept the boy secure before we arrived.


Frank Taylor, Operations Manager at Cullercoats RNLI said: Routine water activity becomes very dangerous with spring tides and ground swell. This boy is lucky to have been rescued. ” – RNLI


UK: Oban and Tobermory Lifeboats in rescue of diver with suspected ‘bends’ or decompression sickness ashore on Mull – 270813 2035z

Tobermory RNLI’s volunteer crew went to the aid of a diver with suspected ‘bends’ or decompression sickness ashore on the same day that the RNLI has called on divers to help undertake research into diver safety.

Tobermory Lifeboat (Photo: RNLI)


The crew were preparing to attend the station for their weekly Tuesday night training session when their pagers went off shortly after 1830. The male diver, who had developed possible symptoms of decompression sickness having come ashore in Tobermory, was taken on to the Severn class lifeboat which launched at 1850. Tobermory lifeboat proceeded to rendezvous with Oban lifeboat in the Sound of Mull. The casualty was transferred onto Oban lifeboat which had a specialist dive doctor on board. The casualty was then taken to Oban to be transferred to the care of the Scottish Ambulance Service.


The ‘shout’ came on the same day that the RNLI called on divers the charity with research into participation and attitudes to safety in the sport by taking part in an online survey which launches today.

Last year alone, 314 diving incidents were reported to the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC). The RNLI, in partnership with the British Diving Safety Group (BDSG), is asking divers and dive instructors in the UK to take ten minutes to complete an online survey, which looks at their reasons for participating in diving, how often they take to the water, preferred methods and locations, experience and training, awareness of possible hazards and use of safety measures. The findings will be used to help the RNLI and BDSG develop tailored and relevant safety messages for the diving community, to help make the sport even safer.

Tobermory’s full time Coxswain Andrew McHaffie said: ‘This was a timely reminder that whilst diving is a popular sport, problems can and do arise. This year alone, Tobermory RNLI has gone to the assistance of six divers. Nationally, the RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crews have rescued 96 divers and saved 13 divers’ lives in the past five years. The RNLI is hoping to hear from divers of all levels of experience, so we can then develop really targeted and relevant safety advice to help them enjoy their sport as safely as possible.’

The online survey will run for nine weeks, during which time anyone who dives in the UK – no matter how often or what level of experience – is invited to visit and complete the short survey. The research is being undertaken by Substance, on behalf of the RNLI. To supplement the online survey, face-to-face surveys will be conducted at dive sites, charter boat launch and departure points, and at the NEC Dive Show (Dive 2013) in October. In-depth interviews and focus groups will also be conducted. Divers wishing to take part in these are encouraged to contact Substance via the survey website.

This was Tobermory RNLI’s 33rd launch of 2013 and so far this year the volunteer crew has assisted 56 people.

Key facts about the RNLI


The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland from 236 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 180 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.


The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices. – RNLI


A map from the Ordnance Survey of grid reference NM at a scale of 1:250.000 (Image:

Scotland: Helicopter ditches in North Sea off Shetland – 4 oil workers dead (named), 14 others rescued – 240813 1635z

Three people were missing after a helicopter carrying 18 people crashed into the sea off the coast of Scotland on Friday.

The Coastguard said 15 people had been rescued and were taken to hospital, but three are unaccounted for.

The incident happened near the Shetland Islands, northeast of Edinburgh, and involved a Super Puma helicopter taking 16 passengers and two crew members to and from oil and gas platforms.

The Department of Transport issued an statement on behalf on the Air Accidents Investigation Branch stating it was “aware of incident” and has deployed a team. An air and sea search is continuing, with three helicopters and two lifeboats involved.

“Our two lifeboats are searching for those three unaccounted for,” said Tim Ash, a spokesman for Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Wreckage from the crash has been spotted, said Ash, who added that rescue teams were dealing with strong tides and poor visibility. “Winds are not particularly strong but visibility is not good. Those are the circumstances that our volunteers are facing,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Coastguard said two life rafts from the helicopter were located and found empty.

Saturday, 24 August, 2013 at 04:21 (04:21 AM) UTC RSOE

Other reports

Helicopter Crash: Four Dead In North Sea

SKY NEWS 2:46pm UK, Saturday 24 August 2013

The helicopter suffered a “catastrophic loss of power” and ended up upside down in the North Sea, triggering a massive rescue.

“Police have named the four oil workers who died after a helicopter ditched into the sea on its way to Shetland.

(Video credit:  turan utkan)

The victims are: Duncan Munro, 46, from Bishop Auckland; Sarah Darnley, 45, from Elgin; Gary McCrossan , 59, from Inverness; and George Allison, 57, from Winchester.

The Super Puma L2 went down at approximately 6.27pm on Friday, around two miles west of Sumburgh airport as it was returning to Shetland from the Borgsten Dolphin platform.

The helicopter was carrying 16 workers and two crew.

“The bodies of three people have been recovered and work is underway to recover the body of the fourth person,” Police Scotland said in a statement.

Shetland helicopter crash
At least three of the dead had trouble escaping the upturned helicopter

The body of the fourth victim is understood to be in the wreckage of the aircraft.

All the families have been informed.

A search operation involving coastguard, police, RAF and local lifeboats was able to rescue 14 people from the sea, including the two crew. They were taken to Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick.

“Five were discharged and nine detained overnight either for observation or suffering from exposure,” the police statement said.

The helicopter is reported to be in several pieces but the wreckage has now been secured by the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution).

A victim is stretchered
One of the rescued workers is moved on a stretcher

Helicopter operator CHC, which operates in 30 countries, said on its website that it was temporarily suspending all Super Puma L2 flights worldwide as a precaution.

It has also suspended flights in Aberdeen “as a mark of respect”.

Amanda Smith, the mother of one of the workers, Sam Smith, said that her son had telephoned her from hospital after suffering cuts in the crash.

She told Sky News: “He said it seemed to lose power and there was no time to brace, they just dropped into the sea.

“He was by the window so he was able to escape that way as it rolled over.

“He said he had come off better than a lot of people. It didn’t seem real, I would say two hours later it’s just beginning to sink in.”

CHC said it was flying for French oil company Total and that the aircraft had lost communication as it approached the airport on the southern tip of Shetland’s main island.

Victims of the crash walking from the coastguard rescue helicopter
Some of those rescued were able to walk unaided after the rescue

The four people who died were working for Total through contractor organisations.

A CHC spokesman said: “The aircraft was on approach to Sumburgh Airport at approximately 6.20pm when contact was lost with air traffic control.”

Mark Abbey, regional director for CHC, expressed his “heartfelt sympathies to all those involved” but said the company would not be speculating about the cause of the crash.

Investigators from the Department for Transport’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch are looking into the incident.

The helicopter was upside down in the water when rescuers arrived, said Sky’s James Matthews in Aberdeen.

“At least three of the four who died had trouble getting out of the wreckage. One body remains in there this morning,” said Matthews.

The survivors were aided by waterproof immersion suits that helped keep them afloat and warm in the North Sea.

The tide – which was heading towards the land – also helped survivors.

Jim Nicholson, RNLI rescue co-ordinator, said: “There appears to have been a catastrophic loss of power which meant the helicopter suddenly dropped into the sea without any opportunity to make a controlled landing.”

Last year, two Super Puma helicopters ditched in the North Sea only six months apart.

All passengers and crew were rescued in both incidents, which were found to be caused by gearbox problems.

Helicopter crash off Shetland islands
Several helicopters have been involved in the search operation

However, the latest incident marks the fourth in four years involving Super Puma aircraft.

In April 2009, 16 people died when a helicopter returning from BP’s Miller platform crashed 11 miles from Peterhead after a “catastrophic failure” in part of its main gearbox.

The Unite union’s Scottish Secretary, Pat Rafferty, said the safety record was “unacceptable” and called on the oil and gas industry to use “every means at their disposal to demonstrate that its fleet is fit for purpose”.

Bob Crow, head of the RMT union, said he expected an “outpouring of  anger” after the latest incident.

“The entire Super Puma fleet must remain grounded until the causes of this latest event are established,” said Mr Crow.

 CHC has set up a helpline for concerned relatives on 01224 296 866.



Shetland Helicopter Crash: Four Fatalities

(Video credit: VIRALTV2013 )

Shetland Helicopter Crash Four Dead Named

(Video credit:  DailyNews779)

Published on Aug 24, 2013

They were Duncan Munro, 46, from Bishop Auckland, Sarah Darnley, 45, from Elgin, Gary McCrossan, 59, from Inverness, and George Allison, 57, from Winchester.

Three of the four bodies have been recovered. Police Scotland confirmed 14 others were rescued.

The Super Puma L2 helicopter crashed west of Sumburgh Airport at about 18:20 BST on Friday.

An investigation into the cause of the tragedy is under way.

RNLI rescue co-ordinator Jim Nicholson said the helicopter – carrying workers from an oil rig – apparently suffered a “catastrophic loss of power”.

He said it appeared the aircraft had “suddenly dropped into the sea without any opportunity to make a controlled landing”.
Amanda Smith, whose son Sam was on the helicopter, told Sky News it suddenly lost power and those on board had “no time to brace”.

“He was by the window so he was able to escape that way as it rolled over,” she said.

“He said he had come off better than a lot of people, [those] were his words.”

Tim Ripley, an aviation expert with Jane’s Defence Weekly, told the BBC there were “many possible scenarios” behind the helicopter crash.

He said: “The most common one at low level for aircraft and helicopters is bird strikes.

“If one of these helicopters ingested a bird it would cause a very, very nasty accident.

“But it doesn’t seem like that because we have no reports of collisions, which points towards a failure of the engine and the mechanical systems on the helicopter.”

A total of 18 people were on board the helicopter.The 14 survivors, including the two crew members, were taken to Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick for treatment.

Police Scotland said five were discharged a short time later and nine were detained overnight either for observation or suffering from exposure.

The ditched helicopter was found broken into several pieces up against rocks.

Boats, including a ferry and a cargo ship, joined lifeboat crews from Lerwick and Aith and helicopters from the coastguard, RAF Lossiemouth and two Bond rescue helicopters to search for survivors.

The AS332 L2 helicopter, carrying passengers crew from the Borgsten Dolphin oil rig in the North Sea, was operated by CHC for Total, taking people to and from oil and gas installations.

Oil firm Total confirmed that the three men and one woman who died all worked for contract organisations.

‘Lost power’
Earlier, Mr Nicholson told the BBC the helicopter had been in a “fairly inaccessible position… near the cliffs”, with weather in the area not “particularly good”.
A CHC spokesman confirmed that an L2 aircraft landed in the water, approximately two miles west of Sumburgh on Friday.

“The aircraft was on approach to Sumburgh Airport at approximately 6.20pm when contact was lost with air traffic control,” he said.

In a later statement, the company said the cause of the incident was unknown but Super Puma L2 flights would be suspended worldwide.

“Also, in deference to the incident and the investigation, we are suspending all flights [on] Saturday by our UK operations,” the company added.

Bond Offshore Helicopters also said it would not be operating any of its Super Puma aircraft fleet, with the exception of its Jigsaw rescue aircraft which would be available for life at risk missions.

Michael Bull, whose son Samuel was rescued, said: “We understand he was on his way back from a rig and the helicopter lost power suddenly and immediately ditched into the water.

“He managed to escape straight away because he was right by an exit and I understand soon afterwards that the helicopter turned over.”

Aith RNLI Lifeboat crew retrieve helicopter wreckage in Shetland

(Video credit: officialrnli)

Published on Aug 24, 2013

Aith Lifeboat crew tow Super Puma helicopter which crashed into the sea off Sumburgh, Shetland, on the night of 23/24 August 2013. Four lives were lost from the helicopter.


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