Busy Weekend For Solent Coastguard

It was a very busy day at Solent Coastguard and which involved many rescue units spread across the beach, sea and cliffs along the south coast district during Bank Holiday Sunday.

Amongst many other minor incidents early this morning a man was winched from the bottom of the cliffs at the Needles after being reported missing overnight. He was prepared for transmission to hospital by the Needles Coastguard rescue Team and taken by the Coastguard helicopter to hospital. He was in a very poor way.

A highly dangerous phosphorous flare was located on Worthing beach and the Portsmouth Team were sent to the location where it was made safe later in the day.

Various rigid hulled inflatable vessels (RIBs) called in during the day concerning on-going power issues on their craft and one trimaran lost its main mast during the morning but was able to limp back to Hamble.

At 1.00 pm this afternoon an emergency call was received from the 27 foot yacht ’Blu Argent’ which ran aground on the Shingles Bank at the western end of the Solent and needed urgent assistance. A RIB was standing by them at the time and attempting to help. The Coastguard helicopter was then called out.

As the helicopter crew waited for the Yarmouth lifeboat to arrive on scene the yacht started to sink with four occupants clinging on to the rigging. As the sail was still up and heeled over the aircrew were worried about rotor wash creating further problems and asked for the Yarmouth boat to launch its 'Y' Boat to attempt to get to the casualties.

This was achieved with the first casualty taken off before the Y Boat was washed to one side with the tide and waves. While the Y Boat was recovering the first casualty the situation on the vessel was deteriorating requiring the helicopter to move in to recover the 2nd casualty. The Y boat went back for the third and the helicopter

recovered the 4th. The two on the helicopter were then flown to Sea Close to be met by ambulance and the casualties on the Yarmouth lifeboat were taken to Yarmouth to be transferred also to an ambulance.

Two children a boy and girl and an adult, all from Leeds, were stuck in the slipper clay at Alum Bay later this afternoon and the Needles Coastguard Rescue Team used their cliff lines to extract all three. No medical attention was required for any of the three.

Tony Wheeler, Duty Watch Manager at Solent Coastguard said

“It looks to be a fine day on Bank Holiday Monday as well. Please heed our advice if you are venturing out. Firstly keep in touch. Carry a communication device and detection aids (for example a VHF DSC radio and emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB). Make sure that you know how to use them and who to call in an emergency. An emergency procedures radio sticker is available from the MCA by calling 0845 603 2431 and quoting publication number MCA/102.

“Tell someone at home where you are going and when you expect to return. If you do not arrive back soon after expected, make sure that they know how to contact the coastguard. The Coastguard offers a voluntary safety identification scheme called CG66. It is a database that the Coastguard uses to find you more quickly should you need help at sea.

“Check the weather and tides before you set out. Speak to your local Coastguard station if you need advice. Avoid alcohol if you are involved in navigating your boat.

“Check your batteries and all of your fluid levels before heading out. Make sure that your water pump, bilge pumps, fuel system, electrical system and all necessary safety equipment including radio and lights are working too.”