Saturday, 4 July 2015

Cliff faller at Swanage - an unusual rescue

Coastguard rescue teams are trained and equipped to undertake rope rescues but yesterday's rescue of a faller near St Albans Head was a little unusual.  The gentleman involved was 300 feet below the coastal path in an inaccessible area.  While walking with a friend some way down from the top of the cliff, the ground gave way underhim and he was pinned with a rock.  Fortunately, his friend was able to make a 999 call to emergency services on a mobile.

When St Albans and Swanage Coastguard Rescue Teams arrived on scene they were joined by other rescue speicialists from Dorset Fire and Rescue and Southwest Ambulance service.

The Coastguard  Rescue Helicopter from Solent was needed to winch the rescuers down to the casualty as well as Dorset Fire and Rescue's hydraulic lifting equipment.  Ten rescue personnel were taken down to the casualty during the operation to extract the man.

The Coastguard Rescue Helicopter returned to winch the casualty and their winchman up and the casualty was transferrred to Dorchester County Hospital.

After the causualty was quickly transferred to hospital there were nine people down the cliff and a significant amount of equipment to be lifted to safety.  The weather was changing and a lightning storm hit the area. Two of the Coastguard Rescue Team members made their way up to the top with ropes and the Coastguard rescue helicopter from Solent was used to bring the other people back up along with the equipment by 11.20pm.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Cliff Faller Near Swanage

A man was rescued this evening after falling down cliffs at St Albans Head and becoming trapped under a boulder.
The gentleman involved made the 999 call to Dorset Ambulance service after falling and the Coastguard was alerted at 7.20pm. St Albans, Kimmeridge and Swanage Coastguard Rescue Teams attended and Dorset Fire and Rescue Service provided extraction equipment.
After rescuers extracted the man from 300 feet below the cliff path, he was transferred to Dorset County Hospital by the Coastguard rescue helicopter.

The legacy of war…

Controlled Explosion on May 21
When a call comes in to Selsey Coastguard Rescue Team for an incident at Medmerry Beach, they’re reasonably sure what it will be: a rather dangerous leftover from World War Two.

During the Second World War Selsey had a bombing range for air to ground attack practice. The area has also suffered from flooding and erosion by the sea which – in 2011 – led to the Environment Agency constructing a flood bank. This created an amazing new wetland – but also flooded the old bombing range which means these days it’s quite common for World War Two bombs to appear on the beach or be washed up.

Ashley Pledger from the CRT says there have been a few interesting moments: ‘Last October we were called to our largest piece of ordnance – a 500lb depth charge bomb which was probably dropped from a plane during the war.

‘It ended up being a 21 hour job for us. We had to close the beach and stay through the night until the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team was able to carry out a controlled explosion. It’s always exciting to see the EOD do this – although from a safe distance, obviously. We maintain the cordon until they give us the ‘all-clear’ to safely reopen the beach.’

Selsey Coastguard Rescue Team
‘It’s scary the amount of ordnance that’s out there. How much there is, we might never know. At the beginning of June we were called to reports of an old sea mine washed up on the beach. While we were there waiting for EOD, we also found a depth charge, several bombs and multiple amounts of ordnance which meant we had to extend our safety cordon even further.’

‘Because it is so dangerous, it’s really important that if you do come across anything you think might be a bomb or other ordnance that you shouldn’t touch it and you should call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’

Ordnance found on UK beaches

Some of the ordnance found by the Selsey Team

Ordnance found on UK beaches

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Helping the lorry drivers...

Coastguard Rescue Teams have been coming to the aid of lorry drivers stranded on the M20 in Kent.

Birling gap, Bexhill, Dungeness, Langdon, Margate and Sheppy Coastguard Rescue Teams are all helping with the distribution of food and water.
They’ve also been assisting with the escorting of urgent patient transfers on all affected routes.

Up until 10 this morning, teams from HM Coastguard – along with other organisations - had distributed 5,750 meals and 10,000 litres of water.

Matt Pavitt, Coastal Operations Area Commander said, ‘As Coastguards we always talk about how we are always on call and ready to react to incidents and situations.

‘This has been a challenging time for these lorry drivers who have been stranded with nowhere to go. We’ve been working alongside our colleagues in Kent Police and other organisations to assist these drivers.’

Chris Enright, Coastal Operations Divisional Commander said, ‘This is an excellent example of how all our organisations can work together in a serious situation to prevent things getting a whole lot worse.

‘We will continue to help all we can until this huge backlog of lorries has been cleared.’

Pictures: Maritime & Coastguard Agency/Dungerness CRT

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

National Maritime Operations Centre welcomes HRH Prince of Wales

HRH Prince of Wales with Coastguards at the
National Maritime Operations Centre in Fareham, Hants
HRH the Prince of Wales has officially opened the National Maritime Operations Centre in Fareham today (1st July).

The Prince, who is Honorary Commodore of Her Majesty’s Coastguard, also spent time looking at the work done at the flagship centre which is at the heart of the new National Network.

HM Coastguard’s National Network is the first point of call for 999 calls, ranging from vessels in distress, to people trapped at sea and cliff fallers.
The National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC) is supported by ten coastguard operation centres across the country and manages up-to-the-minute nationwide search and rescue capabilities. Since it went live in September it has dealt with 2,354 incidents.*

It also monitors vessels when asked, including those from West Africa as part of measures to protect the UK from the Ebola virus.

Today HRH met with senior members of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and spoke with controllers and operations officers – the people who oversee incidents and deploy resources.

Sir Alan Massey, Chief Executive of the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, said, 
This is a wonderful day for Her Majesty's Coastguard. 

‘We are greatly honoured that HRH The Prince of Wales, as our Honorary Commodore, today formally opened our National Maritime Operations Centre here in Fareham. This marks a huge step forward in the Coastguard's ability to coordinate effective rescues at sea and on our coasts.

‘The NMOC is at the hub of a new, integrated network of Coastguard Operations Centres around the UK. 

‘When the network is fully in place by the end of this year, both mariners and the general public will be able to count on an unprecedented quality of service from our excellent systems and highly trained staff.'
Richard Parkes, Director, Maritime Operations at the MCA, said, ‘The official opening of the National Maritime Operations Centre marks another important milestone in the history of Her Majesty’s Coastguard. It signifies the step change in capability that our new National Network will deliver and recognises the tremendous amount of hard work involved in bringing this network online around the coast of the UK.’
Keith Oliver, Chief Coastguard said, ‘We are delighted that HRH the Prince of Wales accepted our invitation to open the NMOC. As honorary Commodore and a former volunteer himself, he shows great interest in and understanding of the work of our 3,500 volunteers and the regular officers of HM Coastguard in safeguarding our coastline.’

The National Maritime Operations Centre (at Fareham) has been operational since last September and is the heart of the new National Network that manages Coastguard work around the whole of the UK coastline.

As part of this network the NMOC, supported by 10 Coastguard Operations Centres around the country, manages workload across the whole UK. This means in a search and rescue incident – for example – there can be a bigger and better support work available to Coastguards wherever they are located in the network.

Eighty Coastguards are already based at the new centre at Fareham – once the new national network is fully up and running by the end of this year, there will be 96 based there. All have been through an extensive training programme including live exercises with lifeboats and coastguard rescue teams.

They are the first point of call for 999 calls ranging from vessels in distress, to people cut off by the tide, to those stuck in the mud and cliff fallers. The NMOC also monitors vessels when asked, including those from West Africa because of the problem of the Ebola virus.

Falmouth, Holyhead, Milford Haven and Humber are already on the new network with Aberdeen, Shetland, Belfast, London Coastguard, Stornoway and Dover set to join by the end of this year.


Tuesday, 30 June 2015

M20 Operation Stack heats up and Coastguard called to help

UK Coastguard is currently assisting Kent Police as Phase 3 of Operation Stack was implemented and temperatures soared throughout the day.

Birling gap, Bexhill, Dungeness, Langdon, Margate and Sheppy Coastguard Rescue Teams are all helping with the distribution of food and water to lorry drivers who are currently queuing on the M20, Kent.

Delays are due to continue and the port of Calais is expected to remain closed until Thursday, due to industrial action.

Tracy Hawke-Treneer, Watch Officer, Dover Coastguard said:

“We are currently helping Kent Police to distribute food and water. As an emergency service we have the capability to respond to major incidents when needed, however this does not impact on our maritime search and rescue response capabilities.

“The teams will be working into the night to make sure that people are receiving food and drinks.

“Work will resume in the early hours of the morning to continue to distribute sustenance as it arrives.”

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Rodney the dog and his owner are rescued from cliffs

Rodney the dog and his owner were rescued this morning after Rodney chased another dog over a cliff. Rodney's owner attempted to rescue him himself but they both got stuck. The Swanage Coastguard Rescue Team, backed up by St Albans Coastguard Rescue Team rescued them both and brought them back to the top of the cliffs.

If you're taking your dog out along the top of cliffs stay away from the edges, they can be crumbly or slippery when wet. Keep your dog on a lead along cliff tops. And don't attempt to rescue a dog which is being swept out to sea or stuck on cliffs. Call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.