Casualties being assisted ashore at Sovereign Harbour

Eastbourne’s all-weather lifeboat (ALB) was launched early this morning in response to a ‘Pan-Pan’ distress call from a vessel with three people on board two miles off Beachy Head. 

Shortly before 06.00 this morning (25 Oct) Dover Coastguard picked up a Pan-Pan distress call from a 27ft motor-sailor which was on passage from Port Solent to Eastbourne. The initial report indicated that two of the three men aboard had become incapacitated, one had sustained a head injury and one was suffering severe sea sickness in the challenging sea conditions with SW winds gusting to force 7 (35 mph) against an ebbing tide. Soon after the alert was broadcast the Eastbourne RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew were assembled including paramedic Guy Emery and lifeboat medical advisor Dr. Stephen Lytton. On scene shortly thereafter Guy Emery was put aboard the casualty’s vessel to assess the situation. During the transfer the casualty suffering sea sickness took his opportunity to clamber aboard the ALB. Guy deemed the head wound to be of a minor nature but was more concerned about the previously unreported medical condition of the elderly skipper of the vessel. It was decided to transfer both remaining sailors to the ALB to facilitate additional first aid which was becoming increasingly difficult in the treacherous sea conditions. Once again the ALB was manoeuvred alongside the motor-sailor and the transfer was completed leaving experienced yachtsman Guy in command.

All three casualties were treated aboard the ALB by Dr Lytton and the crew whilst they steamed back to Sovereign Harbour to liaise with two waiting ambulances. With all casualties passed into the care of the ambulance service Dr Lytton left the lifeboat to return to his patients at his surgery and Second Coxswain Mark Robinson replaced him aboard the lifeboat. The ALB again put to sea to assist with the recovery of the motor-sailor which by this time Guy had brought to within a mile of harbour. Again the ALB was manoeuvred alongside and Mark transferred aboard to assist Guy with the recovery. Both boats entered Sovereign Harbour shortly after 07.30.