Rescue – Friday 30 March 2018

A chain of failed rescue attempts by members of the public led to four people being caught in heavy seas off a slipway at Redcar on Friday 30 March 2018.

A man fell from the slipway at the lifeboat station just after 4pm, causing him to be battered by large waves, close to the slipway and the sea wall. A man he was with attempted to rescue him, but was unable to stand in the breaking surf and got into difficulties himself.

While the alarm was being raised by members of the public and Coastwatch Redcar, two passers-by, a man and a woman, then attempted to rescue the pair. They also ended up in the sea before more members of the public were able to get them to safety.

Both Redcar RNLI’s lifeboats were called to assist. The lifeboats did not launch and the volunteer crew brought all four people back to the lifeboat station and began casualty care until ambulance crews arrived.

A fleet of three ambulances was required to take all four people to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough for treatment of injuries and the effects of cold water immersion. The Great North Air Ambulance and the NEAS HART team were also tasked but were stood down.

As the lifeboat crews were dealing with this incident a member of the public reported to coastguard rescue teams who were on scene that they could see a person in the sea several hundred metres from the shore edge. The Redcar RNLI inshore lifeboat was launched. After a brief search the lifeboat was stood down after a fisherman’s float was found in the area pinpointed.

Dave Cocks, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Redcar, said: ‘This was a sequence of events which could so easily have led to multiple deaths.

‘The sea at Redcar is very rough as a result of the combined effects of strong winds and a particularly high tide, and the situation ended up with four adults in trouble in the sea, all needing rescue.

‘It is only through good fortunate that all four were rescued alive.’

Dave Cocks reiterated the RNLI’s safety messages: ‘This just goes to show why people need to respect the water. The sea a hostile, unforgiving environment. Tragically in the UK and Ireland at least one person dies from drowning each day. We believe that one drowning is one too many and we encourage people to think ahead and to take the necessary precautions to keep them and their family safe at the coast.

‘Around half of those who die at the coast find themselves in the water unexpectedly, often as a result of slips, trips or falls, meaning they weren’t properly prepared to get wet. To prevent this happening, it is crucial people plan their activity, but also think about what they’d do in an emergency should something unexpected happen.

Dave Cocks adds: ‘The RNLI warns people to check the weather and tide conditions and make sure their equipment is all in working order. People should always carry a means of calling for help should something go wrong and make sure they wear the necessary safety equipment.

‘If you see someone in trouble, alert the lifeguards or call 999 r 112 and ask for the Coastguard. Do not enter the water yourself.’

To find out how you can stay safe while enjoying your water activity, visit