Monday, 25 February 2019

Multi-Agency Search in Swanage Bay

Dorset Police requested Coastguard assistance at around 1.00am this morning, Monday 25 February 2019, to reports of a concern for the welfare of an elderly woman who had left her home address in Swanage.

Whilst police officers carried out a search of the immediate area, the Coastguard team undertook a detailed search of the shoreline from the Pier to Sheps Hollow.  Both Swanage lifeboats launched and concentrated their searches in the bay. 
Just as the Coastguard team (by now reinforced with colleagues from St Albans) was about to redeploy to the area on the other side of the Pier, very sadly the body of the woman aged in her 80s was located off Peveril Point at around 2.45am.

Our thoughts are with the lady's family at this time.

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Training and a Search

On a beautiful day the team headed up to Old Harry for rope training.

The rope technician reflects that its a long way back up

The stretcher being taken down the cliff with some edge safety training taking place.

Having carried out several scenarios the team returned to the station to clean the vehicles and equipment.

Within half and hour the team were tasked to Knoll beach to search for a missing 5 year old missing for half an hour.

On route the message came through the child had been located some distance from the visitors centre which was confirmed on arrival.

A quick check that everyone was ok and a debrief with National Trust Staff and the team returned again to the station.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Kayaker in Difficulty at Studland Beach

Saturday's patrol were at Knoll Beach when they noticed a kayaker in difficulty approx 100 metres offshore.  The individual had fallen off the sit-on kayak and was struggling to get back on board.  He'd also lost his paddle.

After a couple of attempts to get back on,the patrol immediately notified the National Maritime Operations Centre who paged the Swanage Inshore Lifeboat.  By the time the kayaker realised he was in danger and waved for help, the emergency response was already swinging into action.  The vehicle's blue lights were used to alert the casualty that he'd been spotted and that help was on its way.

The Coastguard team donned dry suits and called for back-up from the rest of the team in preparation for a water rescue.

When it was safe to do so, and when the kayaker was within range, Coastguard Steve waded out and rescued the kayaker and his vessel and brought them back to the beach and from there to the National Trust's First Aid room to recover and be checked over.

The kayak was brand new and it was the first time that the individual had been out.  Although he had taken the wise precaution of wearing a dry suit, he was mistakenly under the impression that this would act as a buoyancy aid - which it won't! 
For any beginner there's a whole host of safety advice , videos etc on the internet, such as this site here.  We'd recommend anyone to be sure what you are getting into.

Once the kayaker was warmed up and over the shock of what had happened, the team stood down and returned to base to clean down the kit.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Fallen Climber at Durlston

The team was called out on Saturday afternoon to attend to a fallen climber to the West of Anvil Point Lighthouse.  Our colleagues at St Albans Coastguard were also called to provide back-up.

On arrival, the team were met by SW Ambulance paramedics, and once the exact location had been confirmed the team set up its rope rescue equipment.  Within minutes, a paramedic was fitted with a harness and rigged up to one or our rope rescue technicians ready for an 'assisted descent' to the casualty.  Swanage ILB stood by, but the injured casualty had fallen onto rocks some distance above the sea level, and its crew were unable to climb up to him.

As the Coastguard technician and paramedic were about to descend, Rescue Helicopter 175 arrived from Lee on Solent and hovered above, surveying and assessing the scene.

With the helicopter in close proximity, the team stepped back from the cliff edge for safety reasons, and its winchman/paramedic was lowered to the casualty instead.  Once the winchman was safely down, the helicopter landed on the cliff top awaiting further instruction.  Meanwhile the team again stood by to take down an ambulance paramedic to assist.

After some time, the winchman confirmed that the casualty was now in a stretcher and he called the helicopter in to lift them both away from the scene and transport the fallen climber to the helicopter base from where he was transferred by road to hospital.

That done, the lifeboat and ambulances stood down whilst the Coastguard teams waited until the remainder of the climbing party had made its way safely to the top.  Everyone was checked for welfare, and assistance was provided to the climber's buddy to reunite him with his friend in hospital.

The opening few weeks of 2019 have seen the busiest start to a year for a long time with 11 taskings to date, including three this week and rope rescue incidents in January and February.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

First Aid Refresher

Training this week saw the team refreshing its first aid skills.  We never know what our incidents will involve and very often we are first on scene in remote locations with paramedics and ambulances some distance away.

We ran through a number of scenarios  starting with a primary survey which then led into various outcomes - unresponsive casualty, catastrophic bleeding, spinal injuries and so on.

The resuscitation dummies and training defibrillators, that we have access to are really valuable pieces of equipment.

Friday, 8 February 2019

Storm Eric

From the Met Office:

YELLOW WARNING OF WIND for 'London & South East England', 'South West England'
Updated 08 February at 1011 GMT

Valid from 1030 GMT on Fri 08 February to 2000 GMT on Fri 08 February
Strong south-westerly winds may lead to some disruption to travel today.
- Some delays to road, rail, air and ferry transport are likely
- Probably some bus and train services affected, with some journeys taking longer
- Delays for high-sided vehicles on exposed routes and bridges likely
- Some short term loss of power and other services is possible
- It’s likely that some coastal routes, sea fronts and coastal communities affected by spray and/or large waves

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Ian is our Coastguard of the Year!

The team held its annual Presentation Night at the end of January at the Royal British Legion.

The evening is always a good chance to get the team and their families together over supper and a few drinks to review the year just ended, look at a collection of photographs, reflect on some of the lighter moments and importantly, to make a couple of presentations.

The Spike (Mike) Williamson award is named after a former colleague who we sadly lost in 2004, and who would turn his hand to anything and was always prepared to go the extra mile.   The award is given to the Coastguard who has gone above and beyond the call of duty, not necessarily out on incidents but at the station and behind the scenes as well.

With over 150 incidents in 2018, the Station Officer was minded to award the trophy to the whole team, as everyone had made a special effort and no one could be singled out.  However, the rest of the team had other ideas and contrived to turn the tables on Ian and present the award to him instead in recognition of the long list of things he does behind the scenes - generally looking out for the team, arranging exercise with partner services, team shirts, keeping the station in good order, training, pay forms and admin.....the list goes on.  And that's in addition to leading the team in its second busiest year ever and attending more incidents than anyone else!

So, very well done Ian and thanks for all you do.

All that remained was for Steve, last year's winner, to present Ian with the award.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Paul Brassington

We were very sad to learn last week of  the passing of an old friend and colleague.

Paul Brassington served in the team from 2002 until 2008 and was a Paramedic with South Western Ambulance in Swanage.

Paul shall be fondly remembered in the team and the community of Swanage, our thoughts are with his family and friends.

Rest in Peace