Weston’s volunteer Lifeboat crew were paged by Milford Haven Coastguard at 01.08 on Friday morning.
Despite the time, the volunteer Lifeboat crew assembled at the temporary station on Knightstone Plaza in good time. The Lifeboat Operations Manager informed the crew of the current situation that a vulnerable female had fallen from a cliff and sustained serious neck injuries.
The crew of D class lifeboat made the decision to launch into the ever increasingly poor sea conditions. This was despite the backup of the larger Atlantic 75 B-769, bring unable to be launched, due to the state of tide, for another 60 minutes.
While at the water’s edge, prior to launching, the decision was made by the helmsman of D-735, that he would make a request to Milford Haven Coastguard that a flank station be asked to launch to assist and back up his crew on the call.
Barry Dock’s all weather lifeboat was tasked by the Coastguard at 01.22. With this confirmation of back up the crew of D-735 pulled the visors down on their helmets, and headed out to sea, battling through sea making best speed to the reported location. The search and rescue helicopter Rescue 187 from St Athan was also tasked to assist with locating the female
A second crew assembled ready to launch the Atlantic 75 B-769 at a moment’s notice once the tide in Knightstone harbour would allow. D-735 and Rescue 187 arrived on scene to begin a search of the area, with local coastguard teams from Weston-super-Mare and Clevedon searching on the ground. B-769 launched earlier than expected, due to the well trained and excellent knowledge of the shore crew. With a further two Lifeboats on the way to assist the search, rescue 187 located the female after 20 minutes. The female was found near Middle Hope Bay on the north side of Sand Point, perched on a sea cliff.
Rescue 187 assisted all the rescue teams to the location now with the Trent class all weather lifeboat from Barry and Weston Lifeboat B-769 in attendance.
The rescue helicopter attempted to use their searchlight to help all the rescue team locate the female. However, the female reacted to this by standing up and moving closer to the edge of the cliff. Fearing for her safety the helicopter stood off the scene but keeping a visual on her throughout.
Coastguard ground teams and officers from Avon & Somerset Constabulary after 90 minutes managed to talk the ever increasing distressed female, who hadn’t appeared to suffer serious injury, to let them help her and get her back to a safer location. Once it was clear that the female would accept the help offered and trying to assist her wouldn’t make the situation worse, a coastguard team assisted the female back from the cliff edge to an awaiting ambulance.
All 3 lifeboats involved were stood down 03.15 and began to make their way back to the stations. Barry Lifeboat escorted D-735 through the rough seas back to the safety of Knightstone harbour, before heading back to the Welsh side of the Bristol Channel.
Both of Lifeboats were made ready for service once again by 04.32.
All the crew returned home for a few hours’ rest before waking up again to start their day jobs at 08.00.
Lifeboat Operations Manager Charlotte Conroy said “this was a very difficult multi agency situation that had a positive outcome despite the weather and sea conditions.”
RNLI notes to editors
RNLI media contacts
For further information, please contact Chris Lyons Deputy RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer on 07825 347697 or Weston-super-Mare RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer Glyn Hayes on 01934 824587
Lifeboats in service at Weston-super-Mare
Atlantic 75 class Lifeboat named Coventry and Warwickshire
D-Class Lifeboat named Anna Stock
The station was established in 1882 at the request of the local inhabitants and moved into its current boathouse in 1902. In 2013 we had to leave our lifeboat station on Birnbeck Island as the access pier had become too dangerous. The temporary station at Knightstone is until we can get a new station built.
To find out more information about Weston-super-Mare lifeboat and for recent events, please log onto our website or contact Glyn Hayes on 01934 824587.