Watch as RNLI make daring rescue after paragliders plunge into sea

Newhaven RNLI has released footage of its crew making a dramatic rescue in front of sheer cliffs after two paragliders fell into the sea.

While many of us were doing our last-minute present shopping on Christmas Eve, the crew of Newhaven RNLI in East Sussex launched to the aid of two paragliders who had plunged into the sea. Despite challenging tidal conditions, the pair were rescued by the cliffs between Newhaven and Peacehaven, and were safely brought back to shore and handed into the care of waiting paramedics.

Other volunteer RNLI crews were also called upon during the festive period.

On Christmas Day in Bangor, Northern Ireland, volunteer lifeboat crew members faced strong winds and high seas to rush to the rescue of two swimmers who had got into difficulty at Helen’s Bay.

Working alongside colleagues from Air Ambulance Northern Ireland, Bangor Coastguard Rescue Team, Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Team, Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, and NI Road Policing and Safety, the lifeboat crew were able to rescue the two bathers, but not before two of the Bangor RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew had to enter the water themselves to assist.

Bryan Lawther, Bangor RNLI lifeboat operations manager, comments: “This was a difficult rescue, with poor conditions and located close to dangerous rocks. It is a testament to the crew’s professionalism, experience and training that the rescue was successful. We should also remember that while four crew went out on the boat, another 15 volunteers put their Christmas on hold to help launch the boat, and stayed to help clean down the boat on her return, ready for her next launch. It is thanks to an amazing team effort from our lifeboat crew and our emergency services colleagues that we were able to hand the casualties onto the safe care of others.”

Also on Christmas Day, at Walmer in Kent, the volunteer crew first responded to reports of an empty boat drifting out at sea shortly after 10am. The boat was found and towed back to the harbour safely, but strong winds meant that a net recovery, using a tractor on shore, was needed to get the boat back to station.

Walmer’s volunteers were then paged again around 1:30pm, after reports of a person in the water. The lifeboat was on scene in three minutes, with the casualty revealed to be the body of a deceased sheep. Once again, wind and sea conditions made for a difficult recovery into the net.

(Image left courtesy of RNLI/Walmer.)

Walmer RNLI’s operations manager, Denis Brophy, says: “Two shouts on Christmas Day is a first in my lifeboat career and I think a first for the station. My thanks go to the families and friends of the crew who responded.”

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