News story

Coastguard winchman battered by 6ft waves during dramatic rescue

Dramatic footage showing the incredible moment a coastguard winchman was battered by 6ft waves as he rescued two young men off Hartland Point Sunday afternoon.

Opps room 02

The HM coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at St Athan was alerted to the incident just after 3pm today after a 999 call was made to HM coastguard reporting two young men clinging to rocks off Hartland Point. With 6ft waves crashing over the men they were at immediate risk of being washed out to sea. Racing to the scene, the HM coastguard helicopter was kept fully briefed by the Hartland Point coastguard rescue team who were unable to reach the pair due to the rough seas but were watching closely from the shore in case the worst should happen.

The rough seas also made it impossible for a lifeboat to reach the scene so their only hope was the coastguard helicopter. Once on scene it took the precision and skill of the helicopter crew which saw the two men rescued in under two minutes.

HM Coastguard helicopter chief pilot Olly Padbury said: “This was a challenging rescue where we only had seconds to spare. As we manoeuvred our winchman towards the two casualties on the rock, he was hit a by a large unsighted wave. Recovering quickly he was able to place the strop over the first casualty and he was winched onboard. Once he was safely inside we dropped the winch down again and we were able to pull the winchman and the second casualty up in seconds. This dramatic footage clearly shows what can happen when people are cut off by the tide but also the sterling job our winchman did in a few minutes. This rescue is about teamwork and we would like to say a big thank you to Hartland Point coastguard rescue team for their spot on briefing - which saw these two young men rescued successfully.”

Both men were airlifted to safety and despite their ordeal required no medical attention.

Speaking after the incident Duncan Ley, duty controller for HM coastguard said: “This incident could so easily have turned into a really tragic one. If you see someone in difficulty at sea or along the coast please immediately call 999 and ask for the coastguard. If you are going out for a walk along the shore make sure that you check the tide times – you will often see this information at the entry to beaches or check it online - and ensure that you are back in plenty of time. Thankfully, this was a rescue that ended really well thanks to the coastguard helicopter crew and Hartland Point Coastguard rescue team.”

coastguard battkles 6ft waves

Published 19 March 2018