Yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 25 October) both New Quay RNLI’s lifeboats were tasked by HM Coastguard to assist Dyfed Powys Police in the search for and subsequent rescue of a missing person in the New Quay area.
Pic. RNLI/Kate Williams
At 5:00pm, in a strong southerly wind, the all-weather lifeboat launched with seven volunteer crew members on board and was tasked to carry out a shoreline search between New Quay pier and Cwmtydu.
Dan Potter, New Quay RNLI’s Coxswain of the all-weather lifeboat, said, “As we approached Coybal beach, one of the crew spotted someone on the rocks. As we got closer, it became apparent that he had been cut off by the tide and there was no way for the police officers or the Coastguard rescue team to reach him so we asked for the inshore lifeboat to be launched.”
The inshore lifeboat launched at 5:45pm with three crew members on board and arrived on scene minutes later. Huw Williams, New Quay RNLI’s helm of the inshore lifeboat, said, “Our first priority was to get on shore to assess the casualty, who had suffered minor injuries from a fall. Having stabilised the casualty, and with the assistance of four crew members from the all-weather lifeboat, we were able to move him to a safe place, away from the incoming tide.
“Our thoughts then turned to the best means of extraction. Due to the tide and the sheer cliffs, there was no way to extract the casualty over land and the swell, combined with large boulders, made it too dangerous to get the casualty onto the lifeboat so we asked for a helicopter to be scrambled.”
Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 187 from St Athan arrived on scene at 7:15pm but, due to turbulence around the cliffs, was unable to winch the casualty. Huw continued, “We were then left with no option but to get the casualty onto the inshore lifeboat before the tide covered the ledge we were on. Fortunately, the rising tide provided a clearer path to manoeuvre the lifeboat around the boulders and, with the helicopter providing illumination, we were able to carry the casualty over the rocks and get him onto the boat.”
The inshore lifeboat then took the casualty to New Quay where he was transferred into the care of the ambulance service, before returning to collect the remaining crew members from the rocks. Both lifeboats then returned to station at 8:35pm.
Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager added, “The combination of location, terrain, darkness, swell and a large spring tide made this a very challenging rescue but one with a very successful outcome. Had the crew not spotted the casualty when they did, the combination of fading light and rapidly rising tide could have led to a very different outcome.”