Six-year-old drifting out to sea in inflatable is rescued by RNLI

A six-year-old child who drifted out to sea in an inflatable has been rescued by the RNLI lifeboat.
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Crew were on a routine training exercise yesterday (Tuesday) when they were urgently redirected to an emergency call.

The child was adrift on an inflatable the size of a bodyboard approximately three-quarters of a mile offshore from Chapel St Leonards, just north of Skegness.

Thanks to multiple 999 calls from the general public, the Coastguard relayed the critical information to the lifeboat crew.

RNLI Skegness Senior Helm, Lee St Quinton.RNLI Skegness Senior Helm, Lee St Quinton.
RNLI Skegness Senior Helm, Lee St Quinton.

This significantly improved the response time, with the volunteer crew reaching the location within 15 minutes of receiving the initial tasking.

Upon arrival, the crew faced the challenge of locating the child amidst the vast expanse of sea. A member of the public attempted to guide the crew by pointing towards the child's location, but the considerable distance between the shore and the casualty made initial identification challenging.

Despite the challenges, the lifeboat crew promptly adjusted their course, proceeding towards the last reported location of the young casualty. After calculating the drift of the casualty, the crew successfully identified the child who was drifting further out as time passed.

An offshore breeze blowing at around 12 knots and gusting up to 19 knots was pushing the child further out to sea. It was clear that the six-year-old, isolated at such a distance, could not return to shore without assistance from the lifeboat.

“Offshore winds can turn inflatables into dangerous objects at sea, swiftly carrying you away from shore. We strongly discourage their use in the sea,” said RNLI Skegness Senior Helm, Lee St Quinton.

“If you notice someone in danger, promptly dial 999 and request the Coastguard. The promptness of the public in raising the alarm this time significantly increased the chances of survival for our young casualty. We owe this successful rescue to their swift action.”

The crew brought the child safely aboard the inshore lifeboat. An initial medical check revealed no immediate concerns as the child had not entered the water and stayed on the inflatable throughout the drift.

Upon reaching land, the young child was reunited with their awaiting parents. The Coastguard Rescue Team was on the scene, ready to assist further if necessary.

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