Lifeboat crew puts airshow duties on hold

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LIFEBOATS on stand-by duty at Airbourne had a busy day on Friday (12 August).

The drama started when a small sports boat with three people on board suffered a mechanical failure on its approach to harbour and got swept onto the rocks of the harbour arm.

The incident was observed by the lock keeper and the RNLI’s Inshore lifeboat was diverted from the airshow.

Meanwhile, a 32ft yacht being sailed single-handed went aground while trying to help the sports boat.

The drama continued when a third vessel arrived on scene and the crew tried to tow the two vessels clear but only managed to cause damage to their own boat and had to abort their rescue attempt.

Fortunately, it didn’t take long for the inshore lifeboat to arrive on scene to restore some calm.

The volunteer crew quickly towed the sports boat to the harbour locks and then returned to assist the stranded yacht.

Despite their best efforts, even with the assistance of the harbour work boat they were unable to break it free from the sand on a rapidly falling tide.

Bob Jeffery from the lifeboat said, “With time running out, the helmsman called for the assistance of the all-weather lifeboat which was still on duty at the airshow.

“Within seconds the all weather lifeboat was on its way back to harbour.

“A towline was quickly rigged and in a combined effort the yacht was dragged off the sand and handed to the harbour work boat which took it to the safety of the marina.

“Both lifeboats then returned to their stand by positions at the airshow.”

To end a busy day, the all weather lifeboat was requested to assist a yacht with engine failure which had been at anchor all day at the airshow.

The volunteer crew rigged a tow and took the vessel back to harbour.

Then within an hour of being released, the inshore lifeboat crew were paged to launch to a jet ski which had broken down just outside Sovereign Harbour.

The rider and craft were returned to harbour and the lifeboat crew were finally stood down.