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Pembrokeshire RNLI lifeboat crews awarded for saving the lives of two divers

RNLI lifeboat crews from Angle, Little and Broad Haven and St Davids are to receive a letter of commendation from RNLI Chairman Stuart Popham for a rescue in difficult conditions, which saved the lives of two people on 14 November 2020.

A formal letter of thanks is also to be sent to HM Coastguard for their key role in co-ordinating the rescue.

The three RNLI lifeboats were requested to launch following a report of two people being overdue from a diving party near Martin’s Haven, Pembrokeshire. A rescue helicopter and three Coastguard Rescue Teams were also tasked.

The lifeboats launched shortly before 5pm on a high spring tide in fading light, and as they made their way to the scene HM Coastguard relayed a co-ordinated sea search plan to the lifeboats. As the lifeboats began searching, the light and sea conditions deteriorated rapidly, to the point where Little Haven inshore lifeboat was operating at the edge of its capability.

Adrian Carey offers his congratulations all stations including St Davids RNLI volunteers Will Chant, Judd Kohler and Mike Chant. Pic/RNLI

After an hour of searching in the dark, RNLI volunteer Thomas Kirby, on board St Davids all-weather lifeboat, spotted the two divers in the beam of a searchlight. They had drifted 1½ miles from their original position due to the tide.

St Davids lifeboat safely recovered both divers from the sea, despite one of them being entangled in the line from their surface marker buoy. They were then taken ashore at Martin’s Haven by Little Haven inshore lifeboat, and handed over to the Coastguard Rescue Team for ongoing care. The all-weather lifeboats from Angle and St Davids then assisted the inshore lifeboat from Little Haven to return to shore safely, as sea conditions were so bad by then that an alternative recovery site had to be used.

Nicola Davies, HM Coastguard Maritime Commander says:

‘This rescue demonstrated great multi-agency teamwork in some challenging conditions.’

Today, Adrian Carey, RNLI Head of Maritime Delivery will visit St Davids RNLI Lifeboat Station and offer his thanks and congratulations to all the crews for their professionalism.

Roger Smith, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager, says:

‘Thanks to the professionalism of HM Coastguard and RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews, the two divers were located in time to save their lives. I am so proud of the selflessness and determination shown by all involved, and this recognition is very well deserved.’

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