Welsh RNLI crew dash from children's Christmas party for a second year running
It was a deja vu moment for Tenby RNLI lifeboat crew this weekend, when in a remarkable coincidence, the pagers sounded once again during the crew children's Christmas party.
At 6pm on Sunday (15 December) just as the children's party was coming to an end, Tenby's RNLI all-weather lifeboat was requested to launch to search for a kite-surfer missing off Pendine.
The volunteer crew rushed away to answer the call for help, in a scene almost identical to the festive party of 2018, when the volunteer crew were called away from the same venue at Tenby Rugby Club to rescue three people washed off rocks in a huge swell.
On Sunday, the volunteer crew made best speed to Pendine in heavy seas and strong winds and began a coastline search from Pendine towards Pembrey, whilst coastguard teams searched the shore and coastguard helicopter 187 from RAF St Athan searched from above. The search was made more difficult due to poor visibility and a large swell. Around five hours later, with the area thoroughly searched and conditions deteriorating on both the shore and at sea, the coastguard made the decision to stand the search down and review the options at first light.
The lifeboat returned to station at 11.45pm when party celebrations were well and truly over.
At 8am on Monday (16 December) both all-weather and inshore lifeboats launched to continue the search. They were also joined by Mumbles all-weather lifeboat and Burry Port Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat, the coastguard rescue helicopter and land-based coastguards teams.
There was huge relief when, at around 9.20am, news came through that the kitesurfer had been found safe and well ashore. All units were stood down and returned to station.
Phil John, Tenby RNLI Coxswain says:
'The chances of us being called out during the party two years on the run are pretty slim, but the volunteer crew are ready to answer their pagers wherever they are. We're just pleased that we were able to help and both incidents had positive conclusions. This is what we're trained to do and it's business as usual for us whatever the occasion or time of year.
'We couldn't do what we do without the support of the public and a time when funds are down and there are more people than ever to rescue, we'd urge people to do what they can to support us through this Perfect Storm.'
The RNLI’s Perfect Storm appeal is being launched in response to some major challenges the charity is facing. In 2018, the RNLI’s financial resources dropped by £28.6M
To support the RNLI’s Perfect Storm appeal this Christmas, helping to ensure the charity’s brave volunteers can continue saving lives at sea, please visit RNLI.org/ThePerfectStorm
For further information, please contact Danielle Rush, RNLI Media Relations Manager in Wales on 07786 668829.
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.