Lifeboat crewmen honoured for daring cliff-fall rescue

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The men who fought to save a man who had plunged 400 feet in his car over Beachy Head cliff have been recognised with awards.

Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) crewmen Alan Simister, Trevor Moule, David Needham and on board medic Dr Stephen Lytton were presented with framed letters of appreciation in recognition of their actions during the daring rescue.

The members of eastbourne RNLI were presented the award on behalf of the RNLI by the Mayor of Eastbourne, Cllr Mike Thompson.

Mr Needham and Mr Moule both received individual awards for their part in the daring rescue.

The men battled rising tides and high waves to rescue George Lloyd-Lewis who was thrown from his car on October 12, 2012.

The 26-year-old was winched to safety and air lifted to the Royal Sussex County Hospital but died of is injuries that night.

When Eastbourne lifeboats first arrived on scene they were confronted with such severe conditions that they were unable to land the inshore lifeboat (ILB) due to the heavy swell and flooding tide, said a spokesman from RNLI.

He said: “Alan braved the breaking surf and swam ashore to attend the casualty whom it was assumed had perished in the fall.

“With the scene illuminated by the all-weather lifeboat (ALB) Alan made his way to the casualty and found him to be still breathing albeit with evident serious injuries.

“With this new information the situation was escalated to a full scale rescue.

“Trevor Moule left the ILB to join Alan on the beach whilst ILB helmsman Dave Needham negotiated the surf to transfer Dr Stephen Lytton from the ALB to the beach.

“In the rising tide, speed of evacuation was of utmost importance and in assessing the situation Coxswain Mark Sawyer immediately requested the assistance of a coastguard rescue helicopter.”

“Working chest deep in the rising tide the three lifeboatmen fought to stabilise the casualty and prepare him for airlift to hospital.

“Doctor Lytton accompanied the casualty to hospital leaving Alan and Trevor on the beach to await the return of the helicopter. They were eventually plucked from the beach and deposited on the cliff top and returned to station courtesy of the mobile coastguard team. In presenting the awards the Mayor commended the whole volunteer crew and thanked them on behalf of the people of Eastbourne.”