Coastguard Defends Swanage Sea Cave Rescue

The coastguard's defending accusations they could have done more to save a woman who died in a Dorset sea cave last year.

Charlotte Furness-Smith Swanage cave death inquest

An inquest on Wednesday (19 March) ruled Charlotte Furness-Smith died by misadventure.

The former Royal Navy reservist had been coasteering at the Tilly Whim Caves near Swanage with her brother last year. He was rescued.

Charlotte's family says it was an hour before rescue teams arrived.

Coastguards were called to a report of a person who had become stuck under Tilly Whim Caves near Swanage on Saturday 2 November.

Tilly Whim Caves

The original operation, which took place in "extreme weather conditions'' according to police, was called off when it became clear the 30-year-old had died.

Rescuers were unable to retrieve her body as it was deemed "too dangerous''.

Mark Rodaway, Portland Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre Manager, said:

"Any death at sea is a tragedy and has a profound impact on the family, friends and all those involved in the search and rescue operation. Our thoughts are with those that have been affected during this difficult time.

"This was a complex rescue, with winds gusting up to 60mph, horrendous sea conditions combined with high tide and limited access to the cave. This was proven when one of our Coastguard Rescue Officers risked his own life when attempting to abseil down a narrow blow hole.

"I am confident the Coastguard helicopter crew, Coastguard Rescue Teams and the RNLI lifeboat crews on scene that day made every effort while there was still a chance of a successful rescue outcome."

Recently Played Tracks

On Radio: Toby Anstis

10am - 1pm

Email the show

Text 'HEART' to 82122

Toby Anstis

On TV: Christmas Hits: Guess The Year

12pm - 2pm

Watch heart TV

  • East 17 Stay Another Day

    Now

    iTunes

  • Paul McCartney Wonderful Christmastime

    12:26

    iTunes

  • Band Aid Do They Know It's Christmas?

    12:02

    iTunes

  • Wham! Last Christmas

    11:51

    iTunes

Heart VIP

Local

Autumn Weather

Find your local four day weather report here.

Listening To Radio Win With Heart

Make Heart the soundtrack to your day and you could be a winner with great prizes up for grabs throughout the day.

Advertise Advertise in Dorset

Get some great ideas on how to advertise your business on radio, online and on mobile.

Follow Heart on Twitter