Once again the volunteer crews of Eastbourne lifeboats had a disturbed evening as they responded to two separate incidents, one involving a disabled cruiser and the other an injured base jumper at Beachy Head.
The long evening for the crew started at 7.25pm when the all-weather lifeboat was launched to assist a disabled cruiser which had suffered a mechanical failure close to Eastbourne pier. The cruiser was taken under tow to the safety of Sovereign Harbour.
At 9.52pm both boats were requested to launch following reports from members of the coastguard cliff rescue team on exercise on the cliff top that one of a group of base jumpers had sustained a leg injury whilst attempting to land at the base of the cliffs at Beachy Head. Coastguard rescue helicopter 104 was also requested to attend. With the all weather lifeboat standing by to support the inshore lifeboat in the potentially treacherous waters off Beachy Head and working in conjunction with the coastguard team, the inshore lifeboat landed three crewmen including the station doctor to assess the casualty and stabilise his condition. Meanwhile the helicopter landed on the cliff top to await reports from the RNLI team on the beach. The casualty, who had sustained a broken leg in the fall, was made as comfortable as possible and prepared for airlift to hospital. When all was ready the helicopter took off, lowered a winch-man to the beach and collected the casualty. Due to the lack of a trauma unit at Eastbourne DGH the casualty was flown direct to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.
The lifeboat crews returned to their respective stations and prepared the boats for service finally returning to their families shortly after midnight.