‘Challenging’ night-time search proves fruitless for Porthcawl RNLI …

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

By GEM Staff Reporter
in Emergency Services

Porthcawl RNLI volunteers were part of a multi-agency search in worsening sea conditions last night [Monday, March 20].

For some, it was the second shout of the day, with the RNLI station having been alerted to a report of a missing person at around 3am.

The night-time search began when RNLI volunteer crews launched both lifeboats at around 8.30pm, following reports that three people were in the water at Ogmore by Sea.

The initial report was made to South Wales Police, who had received a call from a person at Ogmore by Sea car park. RNLI Porthcawl was tasked by HM Coastguard (HMC) to initially search the area around Ogmore By Sea and the river mouth.

In difficult sea conditions, with a large swell and strong winds, the D-Class and Atlantic 85 lifeboats conducted a thorough search, firing white parachute flares once on scene to illuminate the search area.

Speaking to The GEM, Porthcawl RNLI press officer Ian Stroud said: “This was a challenging multi-agency operation in difficult, in fact worsening, conditions, which demonstrated the close co-operation between the agencies.”

Other units involved during the search included Llantwit Major and Porthcawl Coastguard Teams, SWP, UK, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service the Welsh Ambulance Service, Coastguard helicopter 189 (SAR) from St Athan and the Barry Dock all-weather lifeboat.

As time increased from the initial report, the search area for the Atlantic 85 and SAR heli was increased – taking into account drift – as far as Nash Point.

With weather conditions on scene deteriorating and the D-Class experiencing technical issues, she was released from the search and arrived back at Porthcawl RNLI station around 10pm.

The Atlantic 85 continued searching being joined by the Barry Dock lifeboat around 10.30pm.

The wind was gusting to Force 8 and conditions were continually deteriorating.

The Atlantic 85 lifeboat was stood down from the search and arrived back at station just after 11pm, with an exhausted crew, most of which had been involved in the early-morning search that day search which had taken place earlier in the day.

The search was called off by HMC shortly after the return of the lifeboats. There had been no further reports of three people in the water, and Coastguard officers were content that the area had been thoroughly searched.

Mr Stroud said: “Any search has an impact on the RNLI volunteer crews, and other search-team personnel, and each search poses a risk to those taking part.

“The RNLI, and the agencies involved, take all such reports very seriously, despite the risks, which are multiplied during a night search in challenging sea conditions.”

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