Crises for help
Date: Thursday 21 March 2019
Location: Off Prince of Wales Pier, Falmouth Inner Harbour
Weather: SE 2, Calm Sea and No Swell, Good Visibility, Overcast
Inshore lifeboat: (Launched 21:32 / Returned 22:15) – Neil Capper (Helmsman), Tom Telford, Tamara Brookes
Boarding boat: (Launched 21:47 / Returned 22:15) – Jonathan Hackwell(Helmsman), Jamie Wakefield
All weather lifeboat: (Launched 21:51 / Returned 22:06) – Jonathan Blakeston(Coxswain), Luke Wills, Dave Nicoll, Andy Jenkin, Tom Bird, Sandy Procter, Jake Ingleby, Jamie Connoly, Andrew Edwards
At 21:27 Falmouth Coastguard requested that Falmouth Inshore Lifeboat be launched following reports of cries for help coming from the water off the Prince of Wales Pier. The Falmouth Coastguard Cliff Rescue Team and Ambulance Paramedics were also tasked to assist.
The Inshore Lifeboat launched from her slipway at 21:32 and arrived on scene off the pier at 21:35. Following a short search a person was found clinging to a mooing buoy approx. 200m off the pier. The casualty was recovered from the water and was taken to the pier as they were suffering from the effects of hypothermia. The casualty advised that there had been one other person in the 3m punt which had capsized so the Inshore Lifeboat immediately request additional support and headed back to the original position to commence a search.
At 21:43 both the All Weather Lifeboat and the Stations Boarding Boat were tasked to assist along with the Coastguard Helicopter from Newquay. The Boarding Boat left its pontoon berth at 21:47 followed by the All Weather Lifeboat at 21:51, both heading up the Inner Harbour to assist in the search with the Boarding Boat arriving on scene at 21:52. Shortly afterwards at 21:54 the Inshore Lifeboat with assistance from the Coastguard Cliff Team ashore located the upturned punt with the second occupant clinging to it on the outside of the moorings. Once that casualty had been recovered from the water they were immediately taken to the pier where they could be treated by the paramedics. The All Weather Lifeboat arrived on scene at 21:57 but was then released to return to station. The Inshore Lifeboat and the Boarding Boat then returned to the capsized punt which was righted and towed back to the lifeboat station.
The All Weather Lifeboat was back alongside its pontoon berth at 22:06 and was refuelled and ready for service by 22:20. The Inshore Lifeboat and Boarding Boat returned to the station by 22:15 with both being refuelled and made ready for service by 22:40.
The two occupants of the punt were returning to their yacht in the Falmouth Inner Harbour when their punt had capsized. Both casualties were incredibly lucky that someone heard their shouts for help and to have survived. It is believed that they had been in the water for approx. 45 mins and neither of them was wearing a lifejacket or had a suitable means for calling for help.