Diver reported overdue

Date: Wednesday 9 August 2017

Location: Pencra Head, near Porthoustock

Weather: N 5, Slight Sea and Swell, Good Visibility, Sunny Periods

All weather lifeboat: (Launched 13:17 / Returned 15:05) – Luke Wills (2nd Coxswain), Jonathan Blakeston , Carl Beardmore, Dave Nicoll, Jonathan Hackwell, Will Allen

Inshore lifeboat: (Launched 13:15 / Returned 15:00) – Sandy Procter (Helmsman), Tom Bird, Josh Beardmore


At 13:11 Falmouth Coastguard requested that both Falmouth All Weather and Inshore Lifeboats be launched after the Dive Boat Celtic Kitten broadcast a Mayday reporting an overdue diver off Pencra Head near Porthoustock. The Lizard Lifeboat, Porthoustock and Mullion Coastguard Cliff Rescue Teams and the Coastguard Helicopter were also tasked to assist. The Rigid Inflatable Ocean II and the yachts Will Go and Cherry Bee also offered to assist.

The Inshore Lifeboat launched from her slipway at 13:15 followed shortly afterwards by the All Weather Lifeboat which left its pontoon berth at 13:17. Both lifeboats on rounding Pendennis Point headed across Falmouth Bay. The Inshore Lifeboat arrived on scene at 13:27 and commenced a search of the immediate area. The All Weather Lifeboat arrived on scene at 13:35 and assumed the role of on scene commander organising all the surface vessels who had offered to assist with the search. The lifeboat commenced a parallel search from Pencra Head heading South through the Manacles while the yachts were tasked to search from Nare Head down to Porthoustock. The Rigid Inflatable assisted in checking a number of targets south of the Manacles before joining the Dive Boat Celtic Kitten in its search off Coverack. The helicopter once on scene also commenced a search to the south of the last known position of the diver.

Lizard Lifeboat launched from its slipway at 14:06 and headed up towards the search area. At 14:10 the helicopter reported sighting a diver on the beach between Dean Quarry and Lowland Point, and having lowered its winchman was able to confirm that this was the casualty and that no medical assistance was required, so at 14:30 the surface vessels assisting with the search. The Lifeboats stood by until the helicopter recovered the casualty to the aircraft and dropped him at Porthoustock, both lifeboats being released at 14:45 to return to their station.

The Inshore Lifeboat was recovered onto its slipway at 15:00 and the All Weather Lifeboat arrived back alongside its pontoon berth at 15:05, with both being refuelled and ready for service by 15:30.

The experienced diver had been one of a group from the Dive Boat Celtic Kitten exploring Porthkerris Bay. The rest of the party had surfaced after completing an hour underwater, but when the other diver did not surface the alarm was raised and the search commenced. The diver had been taken by the ebbing tide 1½ miles along the coast before he was able to make the shore having ditched some of his equipment.