Date: Friday June 20 2014
A busy Friday night for Blyth Royal National Lifeboat institution (RNLI) lifeboat as the volunteer crew at who usually respond to between 20 and 30 calls per year are asked to respond to four calls in just three hours.
The first call came shortly before 6:30pm on Friday 20 June 2014 and was to reports of four teenagers in difficulty in the water at Blyth Beach. The lifeboat quickly launched and proceeded to the scene 1.5 miles south of Blyth lifeboat station with three of its volunteer crew on-board.
Upon arrival it was discovered that four teenagers, all females, had made their way from the water and up towards the Dave Stevens centre. They had been attempting to rescue a friend who had appeared to be in difficulty but had managed to make his own way back to shore.
Following an initial assessment of the four females and with the arrival of Blyth’s Coastguard Team it was decided that one casualty required the attention of a lifeboat crew member qualified with the RNLI’s casualty care training and a detailed assessment was made. She was monitored, placed in the coastguard vehicle and wrapped in a blanket whilst awaiting the arrival of an ambulance. The other three females were taken care of by members of the coastguard team and police who had also been alerted to the incident. Once the ambulance had arrived the lifeboat left the scene to make its way back to Blyth lifeboat station.
Shortly after 7pm and whilst entering Blyth Harbour the lifeboat was requested to turn around and immediately proceed to Seaton Sluice as the coastguard had taken a 999 call stating a 14yr old male was in the water and being dragged out to sea approximately 200 meters off the beach. Whilst preceding the coastguard were able to obtain a more accurate location from the 999 caller and kept them on the telephone to help guide the lifeboat directly onto the casualty.
The crew spotted the teenager with his head barely above water and the inshore lifeboat was quickly manoeuvred into the oncoming swell, an approach made, and the casualty pulled over the side and into the lifeboat. A casualty care assessment was made, oxygen given and the casualty monitored. It was decided at this point that as the current sea conditions would prevent the safe landing of the lifeboat on the beach at Seaton Sluice, a rendezvous would be made with an ambulance back at the scene of the previous incident.
Once the teenager was ashore and with ambulance crew he began to reflect on what had just happened, thanked the lifeboat crew and commented “I’d had enough and was about to just give up when you’s showed up and pulled me out”.
The lifeboat departed and headed back to Blyth lifeboat station, was refuelled and ready for service again as the third call of the evening came. At around 9pm Humber Coastguard requested that the lifeboat be put at immediate readiness to launch as there were reports of an unconscious female on Blyth Beach. An ambulance was already proceeding and Blyth coastguard team arrived to confirm that the female who did require medical attention was not in any danger from the rising tide as she was located in the dunes behind the beach. The lifeboat was stood down and Blyth Coastguard Team assisted the ambulance service in extracting the casualty from the beach to the waiting ambulance.
The last call of the evening came at 9:25pm, as the crew were re-housing the lifeboat and de-briefing the previous incidents, a telephone call was received from Humber Coastguard to request once again the immediate launch of the lifeboat to reports of two more teenagers in the water at Blyth Beach. Whilst the lifeboat was proceeding information was received that the teenagers were now out of the water, however it was requested that the lifeboat still attend as the local coastguard team had concerns that a large group of teenagers were acting in an un-safe manner and entering the water whilst possibly under the influence of alcohol.
The lifeboat remained on-scene for around 30 minutes until the group were dispersed by police. Whilst on-scene the crew also spotted a fire burning in the dunes behind Gloucester Lodge Farm, half way between Blyth & Seaton Sluice and requested Humber Coastguard inform the fire brigade of this.
The lifeboat was re-fuelled and ready again for the next service call by 10pm and following a further de-brief the volunteer crew left the lifeboat station shortly before 11pm.
Blyth Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM) John Scott said – “if the crew hadn’t already of been out on the lifeboat and in the harbour then it would of taken up to ten minutes for the crew to be alerted, make their way to the station and launch our lifeboat to the boy in the water at Seaton Sluice – judging from his own remarks I don’t think he had another ten minutes in him”
Mr Scott further commented “the actions of the 999 caller and their ability to remain calm and guide the lifeboat in contributed to the successful outcome of this incident”
Photo credits RNLI Blyth
Video credits RNLI Blyth