Crews praised for dramatic rescue from stormy seas
2:31pm Friday 22nd March 2013 in News
This dramatic photograph shows the awful conditions that a Pembrokeshire RNLI crew battled through to get to an injured fisherman yesterday (Thursday).
The Portuguese fisherman was taken to hospital after suffering a head injury on his fishing boat about 30 nautical miles west of St Anns Head.
The RAF search and rescue helicopter from Chivenor was sent to the scene but weather conditions proved too bad for a winchman to be lowered on to the vessel.
The RNLI all-weather lifeboat from Angle was launched to meet the vessel, which was asked to head closer to land to try to find calmer waters, and HMS Echo went to assist.
The helicopter then returned to the scene and airlifted the casualty to Morriston Hospital in Swansea.
Milford Haven Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) was contacted by the French authorities just before midday to report that a fisherman needed evacuation.
Watch keeping staff at Milford Haven MRCC tried to make contact with the vessel, but the people on board spoke little English, and a member of MRCC staff who spoke French managed to pass on some information.
The wind at the time was blowing a south easterly gale force eight (39-46 mph), with rough seas.
Milford Haven MRCC watch manager Barrie Yelland said: "Due to the weather conditions, this was a challenging rescue for all involved. It was made all the more difficult as those on board the fishing vessel couldn't speak English."
Commenting on last night’s incident, MP Stephen Crabb said: “I praise the efforts of all those involved in last night’s rescue off St Anns Head. It is testament to the skills and dedication of the crew of volunteers from Angle RNLI , our local Coastguard and the RAF, who worked together to battle against the challenging weather conditions to bring this injured fisherman to safety. I understand that the individual is now receiving attention in Morriston Hospital.
“This incident is a reminder of why we worked so hard to retain our much valued local coastguard centre in Milford Haven. And a reminder of the excellent work carried out locally to help support the RNLI in their vital work in saving lives at sea.”