Eastbourne all-weather lifeboat was launched into a dark and stormy night (3 Nov) in response to a Mayday distress call from the 2125 tonne trawler Scombrus, 17 miles south of Sovereign Harbour, after a member of crew was lost overboard.
After steaming at maximum speed for well over an hour the ALB arrived on scene to find that the crewman, who was fortunately wearing his life jacket, had been located by his colleagues and recovered to his vessel having been in the water for over 30 minutes. Coastguard rescue helicopter 104 arrived on scene at approximately the same time as the lifeboat. Volunteer lifeboat crewmen Dr Stephen Lytton and paramedic Guy Emery were put aboard the trawler to assess the casualty who they found to be suffering from cold and shock; he had also sustained an injury to his ankle which would have made transfer to the lifeboat difficult. In the circumstances it was decided to airlift the casualty to the District General Hospital at Eastbourne.
In a skilful manoeuvre a winch-man was lowered from the helicopter onto the rolling deck of the trawler to prepare the casualty for transfer. They were then lifted into the helicopter and transported to the new pad at the DGH. The lifeboat meanwhile made its long way back to station where it was made ready for service.