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Lucky pilot returns to Withernsea to thank RNLI volunteers who launched to help

Lifeboats News Release

Today (Friday 19 August), Bob Hitchcock visited the volunteer crew at Withernsea RNLI to thank those who launched in rough seas to help save him after his plane crashed last Wednesday (10 August).

Bob, an experienced pilot from Derbyshire, got into difficulty when his plane crashed into the North Sea just outside of Withernsea. After crashing into the water at high tide, Bob managed to climb up the cliffs to safety before seeking help. Along with Coastguard units, including the Coastguard helicopter, Withernsea RNLI volunteers were paged to commence the search after Bob’s EPIRB (personal locator beacon) signal was picked up near to where the plane crashed.
 
Bob spent an hour with the Withernsea lifeboat crew today, explaining: 'It was the most shocking experience of my life. I have a huge number of flying hours under my belt and I hope I never have to experience anything like it again. I have a big respect to all RNLI volunteers, especially those who dropped everything to come and help me.'

Daniel Lythe, one of the Withernsea RNLI volunteer crew who launched to Bob’s aid, explained how it was very scary listening to Bob remember the day’s events. He said:

By telling us the story of what went wrong, it’s amazing that Bob is still here to be able to visit us today. We are all pleased that he is ok especially considering it was a horrible day with an unrelenting North Sea. It was nice for Bob to take the time out to come and visit us, and thank us. As a volunteer, that ‘thank you’ makes everything we do worthwhile.By telling us the story of what went wrong, it’s amazing that Bob is still here to be able to visit us today. We are all pleased that he is ok especially considering it was a horrible day with an unrelenting North Sea. It was nice for Bob to take the time out to come and visit us, and thank us. As a volunteer, that ‘thank you’ makes everything we do worthwhile.'

Photos
1. Bob Hitchcock with Withernsea RNLI crewmen Luke Newton and Daniel Lythe who were part of the crew that launched, and Deputy Launch Authority John Hartland. Credit RNLI/Withernsea
2. Bob Hitchcock looking out to the site of his crash from the crew room at Withernsea Lifeboat Station. Credit RNLI/Withernsea

RNLI media contacts
For more information please telephone Matt Woodhouse, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07875 485784 or mattrnli9@hotmail.com or contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789
 

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.

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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.

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