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May day call for lifeboats as trouble off Selsey Bill

By Kelly Wickham


Coastguards requested the launch of Selsey lifeboats after receiving a Mayday distress call on Friday evening.


The call came from a 60ft motor boat that had run aground on the Mixon reef, 1.25 miles off Selsey Bill.


The skipper reported that there were two people aboard and they had water ingress.


The Selsey inshore lifeboat was first away at 6.45pm, closely followed by the all-weather lifeboat at 6.50pm.


At this stage the skipper reported they had about eight inches of water in the bilge. The vessel had gone aground just before low water. The inshore lifeboat crew made two attempts to get near the vessel but these proved unsuccessful due to the breaking seas.


With the weather deteriorating, the coxswain decided to pass the tow line to the vessel using the lifeboat which manoeuvred as close as it could to the casualty before throwing a heaving line with the larger tow line attached.


Three attempts were made before the man on the vessel was able to hold on to the line and hauled the larger tow line on to the vessel.


Once the vessel started moving off the reef, the skipper asked to be evacuated from the vessel as they now had 4ft of water in the bilge.


The inshore lifeboat made an attempt to recover the two men but conditions were to rough so it was released to return to station. The weather was by then wind south west force 5-7 rough sea in rain showers.


The skipper was safely rescued but unfortunately sustained a head injury while transferring and first aid was administered. He also declared a previous heart condition so an ambulance was requested to meet them on their return.


At around 9.35pm, the all-weather lifeboat returned to the beach and was rehoused immediately to disembark the two casualties before washing down and refuelling. They were given dry clothes and a hot drink while their wet clothes were dried.


The station lifeboat operations manager took both casualties to St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester, where they were treated.


The RNLI charity volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts.


Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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