RNLI Hoylake Hovercraft crew rescue family in difficulty off Hilbre Island

Hoylake RNLI’s hovercraft ‘Hurley Spirit’, was requested to launch by the UK Coastguard on the afternoon of Thursday 26 August.

At 16:31 the RNLI volunteer crew launched the Hovercraft following reports of people in difficulty in the water, having been swept out by the outgoing tide around Hilbre. The Hovercraft made best speed to the casualties reported location.

A volunteer member of RNLI Hoylake’s crew happened to be at Hilbre Island at the time and, along with other members of the public who had raised the alarm, was able to help direct the Hovercraft. The casualties had been assisted ashore by the time of arrival and were in the care of West Kirby Lifeguards.

The principal casualty was reported as breathing but unconscious, having ingested seawater. The other four family members were alert, but cold and suffering from shock. The adult male was taken aboard the Hovercraft in a stretcher along with the adult female and three children.

On route back to the RNLI Lifeboat Station the crew met with Coastguard Helicopter Rescue 936 on the beach where a paramedic was winched down to the Hovercraft to give emergency care to the man. Subsequently, they were all flown back to Hoylake Lifeboat Station where an Ambulance was waiting.

The casualty regained consciousness whilst in the Lifeboat Station and was medically assessed by the paramedics before being transported to hospital. The remaining family members were kept warm and taken into the crew room to be checked over by the Ambulance Service before leaving the station.

Reflecting on the rescue Hoylake RNLI Mechanic, Harry Jones, said, “It’s great to be involved in a shout with such a happy outcome. Time can mean the difference between life and death in these sorts of situations and we’d like to remind everyone that if they see somebody in difficulty in the water to call 999 without delay and ask for the Coastguard.”

Volunteers of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution are on standby 24 hours a day ready to fulfil their duty in search and rescue operations.

Image credit: RNLI/Hoylake Lifeboat Station

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