Diver reported overdue
Date: Thursday 17 June 2021
Location: 2.5 miles SSE of St Anthony Lighthouse
Weather: N 4, Moderate Sea and Slight Swell, Excellent Visibility, Partly Cloudy
All weather lifeboat: (Launched 12:58 / Returned 22:15) – Jonathon Blakeston (Coxswain), Dave Nicoll, Jonathan Hackwell, Andy Edwards, Jack Williams, Cadan Harris
Inshore lifeboat: (Launched 12:56 / Returned 18:36) – James Wakefield (Helmsman), Tom Bird, Tamara Brookes, Lloyd Barron
At 12:50 Falmouth Coastguard requested that Falmouth All Weather and Inshore Lifeboats be launched to assist in the search for a diver who had been reported overdue whilst diving a wreck 2.5 miles SSE of St Anthony Lighthouse. Several vessels in Falmouth Bay responded to the Mayday broadcast on VHF offering to assist in the search. A Navy Helicopter on exercise in Falmouth Bay also offered its assistance along with the Coastguard Helicopter which was tasked from Newquay. In addition, Coastguard Rescue Teams from Portscatho, Falmouth and Porthoustock were tasked to assist in the search.
The Inshore Lifeboat launched from her slipway at 12:56, with the All Weather Lifeboat leaving its pontoon berth shortly afterwards at 12:58. Both lifeboats headed out to the dive site, the Inshore Lifeboat arriving on scene at 13:07 where it commenced an initial sector search. The All Weather Lifeboat arrived on scene at 13:15 and commenced an area search being joined by the Inshore Lifeboat at 13:20.
Once the initial search was completed at 13:55, two further searches were carried out with the All Weather Lifeboat acting as the On Scene Commander using many of the vessels that had responded to assist in the search. At 17:08 the Inshore Lifeboat was dispatched to carry out a shoreline search between Nare Head and Lowland Point in the Manacles, before being released at 18:09 to return to its station. The remaining vessels commenced a fourth search at 17:08, but a number of the vessels had to depart during this search due to fuel capacity. The fifth and final search was commenced at 19:29 but was called off at 21:31 due to the failing light, the All Weather Lifeboat being released to return to its station.
The Inshore Lifeboat arrived back at its slipway by 18:36 where it was refuelled and made ready for service by 19:05. The All Weather Lifeboat arrived back alongside its pontoon berth at 22:15 where it was refuelled and made ready for service by 22:38.
The All Weather Lifeboat spent over 10 hours searching while the Inshore Lifeboat was at sea for nearly 7 hours. Despite the extensive efforts of all involved sadly the diver was not located. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the missing diver at this very difficult time.
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