Video: Skipper ‘so happy’ to see RNLI after 25 minutes in freezing water

Plymouth RNLI

Plymouth RNLI volunteers have helped save a man who was in the water for 25 minutes, after his vessel sank near Rame Head, in the Whitsand Bay area.

A video taken during the incident shows Ashley Wright expressing his gratitude to the crew after he had spent almost half an hour submerged in freezing waters.

Plymouth RNLI volunteers’ pagers sounded after the Coastguard picked up a Mayday distress call reporting a person in the water.

Crew members, helm Cameron Hicks, James Scott and Josh Hay spotted a fishing boat in the area so they went to investigate. As they approached, they could see the skipper with a casualty on board, and Scott boarded the vessel to investigate.

The casualty reported he had been on his vessel, but a wave hit his boat, causing it to fill with water and it quickly began to sink. He had used his mobile phone to dial 999 and ask for help and stayed on the phone with the Coastguard whilst in the water.

The casualty was transferred to the all-weather lifeboat, where he was taken to shore and handed over to paramedics.

‘We would like to thank the skipper of the fishing vessel for answering the Mayday call and quickly locating the casualty; their assistance helped save the man’s life,” says Plymouth RNLI Coxswain Simon Jeffery.

“This was a time-critical shout, and our crew used their skills and expertise to quickly get to the scene, get the casualty out of the water and provide the emergency casualty care he needed. Clearly, this incident shows how situations can change very quickly, so we’d urge people to make sure they’re fully prepared before going to sea, including wearing a lifejacket, carrying an emergency locator beacon and a radio to call for help.

“Ultimately, this man has gone home to his family after spending a long period of time in very cold water. We’re delighted this incident has a positive outcome and reinforces why we do what we do – save lives at sea.”

Both boats returned to the station ready for service at 5.30pm.

The RNLI is currently sending out its own ‘Mayday’ call with the launch of its Mayday Mile fundraising campaign, a challenge for members of the public to cover a mile a day for the month of May.

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