Lifeboat crews come to stricken swimmer’s aid

The lifeboat crew attend to the rescued swimmer
The lifeboat crew attend to the rescued swimmer

A SWIMMER was dramatically rescued by the town’s lifeboat crews on Friday evening (June 3).

The volunteer crew of the RNLI Inshore Lifeboat launched urgently after a swimmer was swept under the pier by the heavy swell and brisk winds.

A concerned member of public had seen the 21-year-old man being caught up in the heavy swell and carried under the pier amongst the pier support structures.

The member of the public alerted Coastguards and lifeboat men rushed to the scene.

The swimmer had managed to pull himself onto a support beam but had suffered grazing from encrusted barnacles to his arms and legs.

The volunteer crew were on the scene in less than eight minutes of the initial request.

After several attempts they were able to skilfully manoeuvre the lifeboat under the pier and pluck the casualty from his perch and into the lifeboat.

He was taken ashore and treated for suspected shock and hypothermia until the arrival of an ambulance which took him to Eastbourne DGH.

In releasing the lifeboat, the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre at Dover thanked the volunteer crew for their speedy attendance and rescue.

Bob Jeffery from Eastbourne RNLI said, “People don’t seem to realise the dangers of swimming in the sea when there is a brisk wind and it is choppy, like it was at the weekend.

“People do need to be aware of the effect and take advice if they are unsure.

“It is also important to make sure you avoid any obstructions. On this occasion, the man was too close to the pier.

“He was six foot and a big strong lad but he was swept under the pier like a cork.

He managed to hold on to a support beam but if he had been a smaller man or a child, he wouldn’t have been able to do that.”

On Thursday, RNLI crews launched to rescue three adults and a child after their boat lost power.

The angling boat lost electrical power in Eastbourne Bay and was drifting helplessly in the strong wind and tide.

The people on board were unable to start their engine, and unable to radio for help.

In desperation, the anglers dialled 999 on their mobile phone and were connected with Dover Coastguard who requested the launch of Eastbourne RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat.

Fortunately, their plight was noticed by the safety boat of the local sailing club, which went to their assistance.

The safety boat tried to take the vessel under tow but had insufficient power to do more than keep it from running aground until the lifeboat arrived.

When the volunteer lifeboat crew arrived on scene, a towline was passed across and the disabled angling boat taken to the safety of Sovereign Harbour.

A lifeboat spokesman said, “This group were particularly fortunate as they had suffered a similar problem just a few weeks ago and had put to sea thinking their previous mechanical problem had been rectified.”