11/08/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/08/2018 04:54
Eastbourne's all-weather lifeboat was launched at 3.52pm last evening (7 Nov) in atrocious conditions following a Mayday distress call involving a capsized Belgium trawler.
The trawler was working 15 miles offshore on the edge of the Dover Straits shipping lanes when its nets apparently snagged an underwater obstacle and quickly capsized.
All four crewmen were thrown into the water which was being whipped up into a four metre swell by near gale force winds.
In a stroke of amazing good fortune a passing coaster witnessed the event and immediately put out a Mayday distress message before plucking two of the fisherman from the water.
Meanwhile the remaining crewman managed to scramble unto the upturned hull of the stricken vessel. Lifeboats from Eastbourne and Newhaven were scrambled along with coastguard rescue helicopter 163.
The helicopter was first on scene and winched the two men from the upturned hull and then the two men from the coaster before taking all four to the Conquest Hospital at Hastings for assessment.
Meanwhile the volunteer crew of Eastbourne lifeboat were requested to stand by the upturned hull to mark its position and to warn other shipping in the area of the danger until such time as HM Coastguard could organise a tug to take the wreck to a safe place and set up an exclusion zone.
Notes to editors
Eastbourne has celebrated over 185 years as a lifeboat station and currently operates an all-weather Tamar Class lifeboat Diamond Jubilee and an inshore D-Class lifeboat Laurence and Percy Hobbs.
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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.
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