A routine training exercise turned into a real rescue for Holyhead RNLI on Sunday (Oct 18), when three men on board a vessel became stuck in a local cave.A sudden swell had spun the six-metre craft, a commercial, and swept her into the large cave near North Stack known as ‘Parliament Cave.’ Her crew were unable to get out unaided due to the water affecting their engine, and they had called for help.
The UK Coastguard contacted the crew of the Severn-class all-weather lifeboat (ALB) Christopher Pearce, who were already out in the harbour, carrying out a rescue exercise, just after 11am, and requested they head immediately to the cave.
The inshore D-class lifeboat (ILB) Mary and Archie Hooper was then paged to assist at 11.15am, and launched quickly afterwards.
The station’s Y-boat, which is a daughter craft to the all-weather lifeboat, was prepared for launch, with two volunteer crewmen on board, and along with the ILB, headed into the cave to assess the situation.
Inside the cave, the lifeboat crews found the casualty craft hard on rocks at the rear, and the three sailors on the nearby beach area.
The casualties were immediately assessed, and on confirming they were all fit and well, an attempt was made by the ILB to tow their boat from the rocks, but to no avail. The ILB recovered the three men and took them to the waiting all-weather lifeboat.
Working together, all three lifeboats made a second attempt to tow the vessel from the rocks. A rope from the all-weather lifeboat was taken and, using the Y-boat and ILB, connected to the stricken craft. The all-weather lifeboat was then able to pull the boat from the rocks, and tow her out of the cave.
At first it was thought the vessel may have taken on water, but after an assessment it was deemed not to be so, and the larger lifeboat then towed her to the inner harbour, where her crew were placed back on board. The tow was then passed to the ILB crew, who brought her safely back to the sailing club groyne at Holyhead Marina.
Both lifeboats were back and prepared for service by 2.30pm
Duty Coxswain Gareth Owens said:
‘This was a working vessel, which had been tasked to recover a buoy, and all on board were experienced sailors with all the correct equipment and a means of calling for help, which was vital. In our unpredictable waters, anyone can get into difficulty.’
‘The incident today also shows how each of the station’s lifeboats play a different role during a call. All the volunteer crew worked brilliantly together to rescue the vessel and her occupants.
Pics. RNLI/Holly Owen