The Search and Rescue event of Thursday night where a fisherman was airlifted to safety by a HM Coastguard helicopter was not without incident. The “Spirit of Guernsey” had spotted a suspected target on a rock and requested the Inshore Lifeboat to investigate as she could get no closer herself.
Before the ILB could arrive and investigate more closely, a severe squall blew across the location and the port quarter of the lifeboat came into contact with a submerged rock, of which there are many in the area. The appropriate procedures were followed and the search resumed on one engine. Shortly afterwards, the casualty was discovered and lifted to safety by the Helicopter. An underwater inspection was carried out on the lifeboat’s return to harbour where it was confirmed that some damage had been caused to the port skeg and propeller, resulting in the lifeboat being temporarily removed from service.
The St Peter Port Lifeboat “Spirit of Guernsey” has been replaced on station by the RNLB Fraser Flyer (Civil Service No. 43) pending an out of water hull inspection later this week.
Incidents and occasional damage of this nature are, regrettably, part and parcel of Search and Rescue for which the lifeboat crew are rigorously trained.
Jim Le Pelley, the Station Chairman commented: “This was a fine example of the various SAR agencies and assets working together. It is worth observing that the Humps area is a notoriously dangerous area, especially in the circumstances experienced that night – poor weather, complete darkness and very low spring tides. Most importantly, thanks to crew competence and through following proper procedures, the event was a success in that no lives were lost and the fisherman was saved.”