Today, Exmouth RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager, Kevin Riley self-launched the inshore lifeboat, George Bearman after crew volunteers witnessed kite surfer fall in cold and rough sea conditions.
The George Bearman launched at 2.21pm with Mark Champion at the helm with volunteers Roger Jackson and Lifeboat Medical Adviser, Dr. Peter Aitken on board. Peter said;
'The kite surfer had been separated from his kite and it was not easy to see him as it was very overcast and getting dark. We assumed he would be with his kite, but he wasn't.'
The volunteers located the casualty within minutes of launching. Having brought him back to safety, they returned to pick up his kite but the wind had already blown it ashore. There was a significant wind chill factor and with a cold South Easterly wind, there was concern about the potential for the effects of cold water shock and hypothermia, as water takes away body heat 26 times faster than air.
Volunteer Sea Safety Officer, Peter Williams commented; 'When his power line failed and he became separated from his kite, he sat warm and compact with his board to preserve body heat. He simply underestimated the strong current. He went through all the drills correctly, but we had a slight problem locating him, what would be ideal would be if he had carried a Personal Flare or strobe light, to aid casualty location.'
- Sea Safety Officer, Peter Williams will be at Darts Farm between 10am and 3pm on Sunday 20 January, offering sea safety advice and a free lifejacket clinic. This is part of Exmouth RNLI's SOS fundraising Day 'Six On Saddles'. You can sponsor the volunteers at www.virginmoneygiving.com/sixonsaddles.