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Dover and Littlestone lifeboats assist multi-agency search for missing person

Lifeboats News Release

At 3:35pm on Sunday 11 December volunteer crew members from Dover RNLI abandoned their Sunday roasts to join forces with the UK Coastguard in order to find a female who had made a 999 call reporting she had fallen on rocks and was injured.

By approximately 4pm, Dover RNLI’s Severn class all-weather lifeboat the City of London II, under the command of Duty Coxswain Robert Bendhiaf, was on scene searching from Folkestone Harbour towards Samphire Hoe alongside the Coastguard helicopter and teams along the shore.

With no sightings of the woman by 6pm, the UK Coastguard requested Littlestone-on-Sea RNLI’s Atlantic 75 inshore lifeboat to join the search amid concerns for the woman’s welfare. RNLI volunteers searched for seven hours with no sign of the woman.

At its peak, an estimated 100 volunteers and emergency service personnel were involved with Sunday evening’s search and rescue operation, which drew to a close at approximately 10:30pm.

Thankfully, the next day, there was a positive outcome when the woman was found safe and well.

Robert Bendhiaf, Duty Coxswain for Dover RNLI said ‘Sunday evening was one of the longest and largest multi-agency search and rescue operations in our area in recent years; it was a great opportunity to work together and put all our training to use.

‘At one point we had a total of three lifeboats searching which included our inshore inflatable “Y-boat” to get in close to the rocks, Littlestone RNLI’s Atlantic 75 searching inshore and within Folkestone Harbour and our Severn class lifeboat searching further offshore and the outer harbour. White parachute flares were used to illuminate the area to aid searching when the helicopter left the scene to re-fuel.’

Ed Baker, Dover RNLI Press Officer said ‘Around 190 people die each year along our coasts, roughly half of those are due to accidental slips, trips and falls. We'd like to take this opportunity to remind the public to respect the water, during the winter months more than ever with falling light and colder temperatures it makes search and rescue efforts and survival much tougher. Visit www.respectthewater.com for safety advice.’

We the RNLI: are the charity that saves lives at sea and available 24/7 every day of the year. We rely on public support, which from January 2017 we will only contact you for your support if you have opted in for us to do so. Find out about opt in here: rnli.org/support-us/keep-in-touch

Notes to editors

  • Imagery and video can be obtained from our social media sites on Facebook and Twitter. Please ensure all media used are credited to those who supplied them to the RNLI.

RNLI media contacts

  • Ed Baker, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer 07716799673, Edward_baker@rnli.org.uk
  • Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/South East/East) 0207 6207426 / 07785 296252 / tim_ash@rnli.org.uk


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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