Lifeboat volunteers from Skegness scrambled in 10-hour search for stranded crew

Hunstanton B class lifeboat alongside with casualty yacht (Credit: Tony
Kelly/RNLI) ANL-171111-101946001
Hunstanton B class lifeboat alongside with casualty yacht (Credit: Tony Kelly/RNLI) ANL-171111-101946001

Volunteers from Skegness RNLI have been involved in a 10-hour search for four men stranded in the Wash.

The crew were paged at 1.30am on Friday morning to search for,and recover two vessels and the stranded passengers.

Floatilla of all four vessels after recovery of casualties (Credit: Tony
Kelly/RNLI) ANL-171111-102141001

Floatilla of all four vessels after recovery of casualties (Credit: Tony Kelly/RNLI) ANL-171111-102141001

A six-man team of the station’s Shannon class all-weather lifeboat Joel and April Grunnill were tasked by UK Coastguard based at Humber to initially locate and tow to safety, a six meter yacht (SV Daisy), out of fuel somewhere in the lower Wash.

Adam Holmes, of Skegness RNLI, said: “Using the vessels’ last known co-ordinates, the volunteer crew proceeded to navigate the state-of-the-art lifeboat south to an area of the Wash charted as the Long Sands.

“Whilst en route communications from the coastguard revealed that a second vessel -a motor boat (MV Belle), trying to locate the first vessel - was also in difficulty.

“Once on scene the crew fired two white para flares, used to illuminate large areas of sea using a phosphorous rocket to provide a brilliant white light.

Motor Vessel under to by Skegness lifeboat (Credit: Tony Kelly/RNLI) ANL-171111-102043001

Motor Vessel under to by Skegness lifeboat (Credit: Tony Kelly/RNLI) ANL-171111-102043001

“Upon seeing these search flares the original casualty vessel was able to flash a light to attract the attention of the crew, who manoeuvred the lifeboat carefully toward the yacht to find it at anchor in 80cm of water, aground on the Long Sands.

“The crew skilfully navigated the lifeboat close enough to allow the two crew of the yacht to come aboard, it then moved out to deeper water and proceeded to search for the second stricken vessel, leaving the yacht at anchor for recovery later.

“The motor boat was located by a wind farm cable guard vessel (Channel

Chieftain 7) which stood by the motor boat until the Shannon arrived alongside. The crew of this vessel were also taken aboard the all-weather lifeboat and were kept warm and dry.”

Crew from RNLI Hunstanton, aboard the stations B class Atlantic lifeboat Irene Cornford were launched to assist in the recovery of the two vessels. Once on scene Hunstanton crews took the original yacht in an alongside tow and the Skegness crew took the motor vessel in an astern tow.

All four made their way south to the port of Boston where both casualty boats were moored up and the respective lifeboats returned to station. The Joel and April Grunnill was re-housed shortly before 1pm.