Life saved following major sea search and rescue involving Appledore RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

On Monday night, 24th April, a twenty one year old male kite surfer was extremely lucky, saved from drowning by a major sea search and rescue.


Appledore RNLI successful search for missing kite surfer

At just after 8.20 pm the emergency pagers went off for the volunteer crew at Appledore Lifeboat Station and both lifeboats were immediately launched to take part in a search for a missing kite surfer who had last been seen at around 6.45 pm between the South Tail, near the Taw / Torridge river mouth, and Bideford Fairway Buoy where the tide runs fast, and was ebbing rapidly. The all-weather lifeboat was tasked to search this area whilst, due to the tide and wind conditions, the inshore lifeboat was tasked to search between the Fairway Buoy south to Rock Nose off Westward Ho! Cliffs.

The Bideford Coastguard was tasked to search the shore line, and St Athan’s coastguard rescue helicopter was also tasked to help search from the air.

After an hour of searching in the dark, the all-weather lifeboat reported seeing an object in the water which turned out to be the casualty who they retrieved on board alive although much shaken and extremely cold. He was quickly accessed by the first aiders on board the lifeboat, and brought back to the lifeboat station for to await an ambulance where he could be could be checked over by paramedics before going home.

The sea temperature at the time was only around 11.4 degrees centigrade. The casualty had a black wet suit which does not show up in the dark. However he used his kite surfer survival techniques and managed to wrap the orange and blue kite into as large an area of visibility as possible bending the inflation tube at the front of the kite to make a makeshift liferaft which must have gone a long way to help save his life. The RNLI was established to save lives at sea and it is a terrific outcome that this man is still alive to tell the tale.


Both Appledore RNLI’s two lifeboats were deployed in a search and rescue mission that saved the life of a twenty one year old male on Monday night (27/4/2017)

RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Niki Tait, Appledore RNLI Volunteer Press Officer on 01237 423163 or 07802713435 or email

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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