RNLI - Royal National Lifeboat Institution

06/05/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/05/2019 11:01

Selsey all-weather lifeboat responds to explosion and fire on motorboat

While at the station on the afternoon of Tuesday 4 June the lifeboat's mechanic overheard a radio call from a yacht reporting an explosion and fire on a 44ft motorboat.

He and the coxswain could clearly see the smoke after looking out of the crew room window so informed HM Coastguard while at the same time setting off the crew pagers from the boathouse at 1.06pm.

Selsey's Shannon class lifeboat launched with its volunteer at 1.16pm and proceeded at best speed to the position of the plume of smoke seven miles south east of Selsey which was clearly visible. The Coastguard Helicopter Rescue 175 had also been scrambled to the incident. The weather on scene was wind force 4 sea state moderate in rain showers.

The yacht had heard the explosion and saw the plume of smoke before hearing the Mayday call. The two men aboard the motorboat had called a Mayday distress using the handheld radio they had managed to grab before jumping overboard. They then managed to get into the tender and release it from the yacht. They reported one man had flash burns and a head injury.

The lifeboat and helicopter arrived on scene together at 1.30pm and it was decided to lower the helicopter winchman/paramedic to the lifeboat before closing on the small tender to recover the two casualties.

At 1.45pm the two men were recovered to the lifeboat and assessed. The head wound was dressed and both men warmed up before they were winched up to the helicopter for immediate transfer to Hospital. The helicopter departed the scene at 2.15pm.

The lifeboat returned to the position of the burning vessel but there was no sign of it, so it wasassumed to have burnt to the water line then sunk. The lifeboat was released by the coastguard at 3.20pm and arrived back at station at 3.40pm.

The crew were Coxswain Rob Archibald, 2nd Coxswain Colin Pullenger, Mechanic Geoff Mellett, Max Gilligan, James Albrey and Pip Skeet.

  • RNLI media contacts
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    07956 415429
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    0207 6207416 / 07785 296252 / [email protected]
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Key facts about the RNLI: The RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 140 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 137,000 lives.

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A charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland.

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or or by email.