Medical evacuation from yacht

Date: Sunday 11 October 2020

Location: Off Grebe Beach, near Durgan in Helford Estuary

Weather: NW 4, Slight Sea and Swell, Excellent Visibility, Partly Cloudy

All weather lifeboat: (Launched 14:55 / Returned 18:00) – Dave Nicoll (Deputy 2nd Coxswain), Tom Bird, Andy Jenkin, Jonathan Hackwell, Sandy Procter, Neil Capper, Will Allen, Andy Edwards


At 14:43 Falmouth Coastguard requested that Falmouth All Weather Lifeboat be launched to assist with the medical evacuation of a person from a 11m yacht with two persons on board which was anchored off Grebe Beach, near Durgan in the Helford Estuary. Falmouth Coastguard Rescue Team, the Coastguard Helicopter and an Ambulance were also tasked to assist.

The All Weather Lifeboat left its pontoon berth at 14:55 and having rounded Pendennis Point headed across the bay towards the Helford Estuary arriving off Dugan at 15:17. Another yacht had moored up alongside the casualty vessel to provide assistance. The Coastguard Helicopter which had been airborne on a routine exercise was already on scene and lowered its winchman paramedic to the yacht. The helicopter requested that the lifeboat go alongside the yacht to provide additional assistance as required, the helicopter relocating to a landing spot in a nearby field which had been prepared by the Coastguard Team.

Once the casualty had been assessed it was decided that the best option would be to transfer them ashore to the ambulance using the lifeboats inflatable Y-Boat. The casualty and winchman paramedic were taken ashore to Durgan where they were safely landed at 15:50, the casualty being taken to hospital by ambulance while the winchman was taken by the coastguard team to the waiting helicopter.

Having returned to the lifeboat, two crew members were put on board the yacht to help take it back to its mooring at Mylor, so that its remaining occupant could join the casualty at hospital. The yachts anchor was recovered by 16:00 and it headed out of the Helford and across Falmouth Bay escorted by the All Weather Lifeboat. The yacht was secured safely on its mooring and the occupant assisted ashore by 17:45, the All Weather Lifeboat then being released to return to its station.

The All Weather Lifeboat was back alongside its pontoon berth by 18:00 where it was refuelled and made ready for service by 18:30.

The casualty had become unwell on board their yacht while it was anchored in the Helford. Due to the casualties condition the winchman paramedic decided that the patient would be best to be transferred to hospital by ambulance allowing them to be monitored on route.

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