‘Textbook rescue’ as Newhaven lifeboat crew and helicopter team respond to medical emergency

The Newhaven RNLI volunteers helped rescue a crew member who had fallen seriously ill aboard a ship last week.

Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 5:20 pm
The lifeboat and a rescue helicopter responded to the incident last week

The team sprang into action after a Mayday call, by tall ship ‘Pelican of London’, reported a medical emergency on Tuesday (May 18).

A 29-year-old crew member was receiving medical attention for a compromised airway from a medic on board the vessel, a RNLI spokesman said.

The lifeboat launched to the ship, which was located south west of Newhaven Harbour, while a rescue helicopter from Lee-on-the-Solent was also sent to the scene.

The lifeboat and a rescue helicopter responded to the incident last week

Pelican of London had set sail from Folkestone the previous day, beginning a 13-week voyage to circumnavigate the UK.

Adrian Ragbourne, Seas Your Future CEO, said: “The Pelican was heading to Poole avoiding the worst of the storms as she set off with some new trainee crew who had joined in Folkestone.

“One of the new crew was taken ill in the early hours, and his condition deteriorated such that at just before 5am it was assessed that his life was in danger and the decision was made to medivac immediately.”

Two crew from the Newhaven lifeboat were transferred onto the ship to help with the casualty care.

The lifeboat and a rescue helicopter responded to the incident last week

The decision was then made to winch the casualty off by helicopter and take him to Brighton General Hospital (BGH).

Once the helicopter had set off, the lifeboat left the scene and made its way back to the station.

Pelican of London continued on to Poole, where they harboured, as planned, that evening.

Mr Ragbourne said: “This was a textbook rescue by the Newhaven Lifeboat crew and the rescue helicopter team.

“Everyone’s training kicked in and the prompt and professional action by all concerned saved a life today – after treatment at BGH the crew member was discharged and returned home to recover.

“We have a professional crew trained to a high standard and had on board a very experienced expedition medic to provide medical support and direction.

“We can now continue on our voyage, providing opportunities to around 60 young people to experience the fun and challenges of sailing a tall ship, make new friends, experience great teamwork, and take part in some very important scientific analysis of the waters around our beautiful British coastline.”

Lewis Arnold, RNLI Newhaven Coxswain, said: “Speed and precision is of the essence when we’re responding to a tasking of this nature.

“We are very pleased to have assisted in a positive outcome for this sailor.

“This inspiring charity are providing life-changing opportunities for young people.

“We wish them a safe onward passage.”