Seahouses Lifeboat Fete interrupted as RNLI crews respond to paddle boarder in difficulty near Holy Island

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RNLI volunteers had to abandon a fundraising event in Northumberland in order to rescue a paddle boarder in difficulty.

Volunteers from Berwick-upon-Tweed Lifeboat Station and Seahouses Lifeboat Station were at the annual Seahouses Lifeboat Fete on Saturday, May 25 when HM Coastguard requested the launch of RNLI crews.

The report, which was received just after 2.30pm, detailed a person in the water, typically 10 degrees at this time of year, who had become separated from their paddle board between Holy Island and Ross Sands.

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The Berwick-upon-Tweed Atlantic 85 lifeboat was tasked with responding to the call as the Seahouses-based inshore lifeboat was experiencing a minor technical issue at the time. A passing vessel also responded to the mayday call.

The rescued paddle boarder was helped back onto dry land in Seahouses by the RNLI and HM Coastguard. (Photo by RNLI/Hazel Bettison)The rescued paddle boarder was helped back onto dry land in Seahouses by the RNLI and HM Coastguard. (Photo by RNLI/Hazel Bettison)
The rescued paddle boarder was helped back onto dry land in Seahouses by the RNLI and HM Coastguard. (Photo by RNLI/Hazel Bettison)

The paddle boarder, a young girl, was located by the lifeboat crew and brought safely to Seahouses.

Helm Michael Percy said: “Any immediate response to a person in the water is always a concern. Time is critical.

“Holy Island is a massive area and shallow in places, with fast moving tides and breeze, so there was a lot to think about.

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“We initially located the paddle board, but no person attached to it or nearby. This meant the stakes were raised a little higher. The paddle board had drifted 50 to 100m from the location given.

“Thankfully the casualty was wearing a buoyancy aid and a type of wetsuit, but we still had to locate them.

“The casualty’s friend has to be commended. A life was saved due to their immediate call for help.

“It was crew navigator Ken Surtees who eventually spotted the casualty waving at the lifeboat whilst clinging to a pot marker.”

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The paddle boarder warmed up in Seahouses Lifeboat Station after returning to land and was checked by North East Ambulance Service paramedics, but is not believed to have required medical assistance.

The incident was the first call out for RNLI volunteer Adam Bettison, who said he felt “proud” to be part of the organisation. He added: “Most importantly it was a successful rescue.

“I would like to thank the helms and everyone at our lifeboat station that has given me training and their time, that gave me the confidence and ability to apply the skills needed to save lives at sea.”

The Lifeboat Fete, which featured musical entertainment from Alnwick All Stars Vocal Group Choir, otherwise ran smoothly.

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A spokesperson for Seahouses RNLI said: "The day was a great success and enjoyed by the crowds of visitors and locals who supported the event.

“The call out added a touch of excitement and our colleagues from Berwick Lifeboat Station did a great job in quickly locating the casualty.

“It is so important to call 999 if you see someone in trouble in the sea, as seconds can be critical in saving a life at sea.

“We are glad that the young girl hopefully has no long lasting effects from her unfortunate experience.

“The technical issue with Seahouses inshore lifeboat was promptly repaired and is again fully operational.”

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