Crews ‘showed very best of selflessness’, says area lifesaving manager
Lifeboat volunteers have been praised for postponing their Christmas celebrations to rescue people at sea.
On Christmas morning, volunteers in Bangor, Northern Ireland, faced strong winds and high seas as they rushed to the rescue of two swimmers in difficulty at Helen’s Bay.
The boat was ready to launch in just five minutes, although one crew member later admitted that they had been wearing their pyjamas under their drysuit.
Two volunteers had to enter the water to assist in the “difficult rescue”.
Bryan Lawther, Bangor RNLI lifeboat operations manager, said: “It is a testament to the crew’s professionalism, experience and training that the rescue was successful.
“We should also remember that while four crew went out on the boat, another 15 volunteers put their Christmas on hold to help launch the boat, and stayed to help clean down the boat on her return, ready for her next launch.”
Meanwhile, in Walmer, Kent, the crew were called out twice on Christmas Day in a “first for the station”.
First, they had to find and tow back to the harbour an empty boat during strong winds, then shortly afterwards rushed to reports of a person in the water, getting a lifeboat on scene in three minutes.
The casualty was revealed to be a sheep carcass.
“Two shouts on Christmas Day is a first in my lifeboat career and I think a first for the station… My thanks go to the families and friends of the crew,” said Denis Brophy, Walmer RNLI’s operations manager.
The station’s area lifesaving manager, Allen Head, also praised the team and their families, adding they had shown the “very best of selflessness”.
Additional reporting by PA