RNLI very busy at Bournemouth Air Show

The RNLI Poole lifeboats attended to over 30 incidents during the air show.

RNLI Coxswain Jonathan Clark said, "It was crazy out there, You needed eyes in the back of your head."

Just as the Coxswain lit the BBQ the pagers went off requesting both lifeboats to Launch. The inshore lifeboats was tasked to a yacht with a fouled propellor an anchor chain had got it stuck holding it fast. The boat was between Boscombe and Bournemouth pier, the crew of the Inshore lifeboat managed to free the boat clear enabling it to go on its way.

The all weather lifeboat then went to a report of a boat on fire off Branksome Chine. Arriving on scene the speedboat with 3 people on board was immediately evacuated. Volunteer crew boarded the boat, they disconnected the battery and turned the fuel off, the speedboat had suffered an electrical fire. When the crew had checked the boat thoroughly and felt it was safe a tow was attached. They took the boat back to Poole quay where the Inshore lifeboat picked up the tow and took the stricken vessel back to Cobbs Quay.

The RNLI all weather lifeboat then went back down to the harbour and came across a lilo with two young girls on it perilously near the chain ferry. The girls had got swept in by the wind and tide from the beach and were incredibly lucky that the lifeboat was passing as they were drifting. The lifeboat crew grabbed the girls and the lilo and took them back to their family in Shell Bay.

Volunteer coxswain Jonathan Clark said, "Lilos in certain conditions can be lethal, the girls were really lucky and oblivious to danger they were in. I shudder to think what could have happened."

The coastguard then asked the RNLI Poole volunteer crew to standby as there were so many incidents going on. The radio communications were a cacophony of requests for help during the afternoon. At one stage there was Poole RNLI lifeboats, Mudeford RNLI lifeboat, Swanage RNLI inshore lifeboat, Weymouth and Yarmouth RNLI lifeboats all out responding to requests for help from the coastguard. There were 1000's of crafts all sizes out in the bay and harbour enjoying the air show and sunny weather.

The Coastguard then asked the RNLI Poole all weather lifeboat to assist a broken down motorboat off Shore Road, but whilst on route they were reassigned to a speedboat that had broken down off Branksome Chine. The Poole inshore lifeboat attended the motor boat at Shore Road who managed to restart his engine, but it was stopping and starting when the lifeboat arrived. The Inshore lifeboat escorted the “spluttering” motor boat back in to the harbour. Meanwhile the Poole all weather lifeboat took the people off the broken down speedboat off Branksome Chine and started to tow the vessel back to Lake road when another vessel flagged the lifeboat down. A small speedboat very close inshore with 3 people on board had no steering and was being swept dangerously close to the shore, the all weather lifeboat took the people off and attached another towline then began towing two stricken vessels back , the latter to Baiter slipway. This was no mean feat with 1000's of vessels milling around. It was hard work manoeuvring and slaloming through a minefield of craft and towing the two boats against a very strong ebb tide.

Then a "999" report came through that a swimmer was being swept by the tide through the entrance of the harbour. Both lifeboats immediately headed to the area, with the stricken vessels under tow. Thankfully as they arrived on scene, they could see the swimmer being helped out of the water at the Haven hotel by the mobile coastguard unit. Then as the lifeboats entered the harbour they were waved down by a large rib that had broken down and was being swept out of the entrance of the harbour on the strong dangerous ebb tide. The inshore lifeboat took it under control and attached a tow and they towed it back into the harbour to a safe mooring.

Meantime the all weather lifeboat continued on towing the stricken vessels back to Baiter and Lake Road when they came across a boat aground off Blue Lagoon. The inshore lifeboat was sent to investigate, as the waters were extremely shallow. When they arrived on scene the occupants of the boat had jumped out and managed to push themselves clear and get back afloat. The Poole RNLI Inshore lifeboat escorted them back to deeper water on route they took one of the stricken vessel from the all weather lifeboat that wanted to go to Baiter Slipway as it was a big spring low water and the Inshore lifeboat was the only vessel that could get near the shore the boat that had gone aground at the Blue Lagoon followed them in. The Poole all weather lifeboat continued onto Lake Road and the Inshore lifeboat was on the way to meet them when they came across the MVS launch aground behind the truck line. The Poole inshore lifeboat pulled them clear.

Having helped the last broken boat get back on its trailer and safely on its way home both Poole RNLI lifeboats headed back to the station. After refuelling and washing down the boats they went home for a well-deserved rest at about 8pm.

RNLI Poole Coxswain Jon Clark said, " It's been a crazy few days with the volume of vessels watching the air show. The crews have worked extremely hard. We will probably be doing it all again next weekend, as it's the bank holiday. We were only glad that we were in the right place at the right time to help the girls on the lilo, and all the other people."

The RNLI Poole lifeboats attended to over 30 incidents during the air show.

Source - RNLI Press Release by Anne-Marie Clark

Date Added - 26-Aug-2009

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