Penlee RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew rescue man from stricken yacht

Yacht aground on rocks at Penzance – image: RNLI/Sam Kent

The volunteer crew from RNLI Penlee responded to a yacht that ran aground at Chyandour Cliff, Penzance on (Sunday 26 August).

At 6.53am, the Penlee all-weather lifeboat Ivan Ellen and the inshore lifeboat Mollie and Ivor Dent were tasked to launch by HM Coastguard, at Falmouth. A 999 call had been received from a concerned member of the public who reported that there was a man and two dogs trapped onboard a yacht on rocks below Chyandour Cliff, Penzance.

The inshore lifeboat and her volunteer crew launched from Newlyn at 7.00am and were quickly on scene arriving at 7.10am. The all-weather lifeboat followed closely behind arriving off Chyandour Cliff at 7.28am.

On arrival, the crew found a 42-foot yacht Get Knotted hard aground on rocks alongside the cycle path below Chyandour Cliff. It was immediately clear that the yacht could not be towed from the rocks. The tide was ebbing and there was far too much surf running for the inshore lifeboat Mollie and Ivor Dent to get alongside and rescue the man. He was still on board but had managed to throw both his dogs to safety.

Volunteer crew member, Jack Shannon, then entered the water, swam ashore to some steps near Penzance Railway Station, and made his way on foot to the yacht. On arrival he could see that the man was injured – the surf was now breaking on to the hull of the yacht so there was an immediate need to get him off the vessel. Jack assisted him down off the yacht, across several large boulders, to the safety of dry land. He was then handed over to members of the Penzance Coastguard Rescue Team who did a full medical assessment. The man was placed on a stretcher and carried to an awaiting ambulance. He was conveyed to West Cornwall Hospital, Penzance for treatment.

The two dogs were looked after by the Penlee Lifeboat Press Officer, Elaine Trethowan, who said; ‘Both dogs were very wet and cold, and obviously distressed to see their much loved owner heading off to hospital. I took them to Newlyn, dried them off, gave them food and some much needed love and attention. They are both safe and well with a friend of the rescued man.’

Whilst this rescue was underway the remaining crew of the inshore lifeboat Mollie and Ivor Dent went to the assistance of another yacht moored on a buoy off Penzance Harbour. Due to the changing weather conditions, a moderate swell, and the ebbing tide, the lone yachtsman was having difficulties moving from his mooring and getting the anchor up. A crew member was transferred across to the yacht to give assistance, and remained onboard whilst the inshore lifeboat escorted the vessel to the safety and shelter of Newlyn Harbour.

RNLI Coxswain, Karl Sargent, said; ‘This was a very busy morning for both our volunteer lifeboat crews, but as always their quick response to the RNLI pagers led to another successful outcome. Our thanks must also go to the Penzance Coastguard Rescue Team and the Devon and Cornwall Police for their assistance and prompt response – teamwork at its best.’

Penzance Coastguard Rescue Team and Penlee Lifeboat crew members carry casualty to awaiting ambulance – image: RNLI/Elaine Trethowan

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