After receiving a 999 call from a member of the public who had seen a man in the sea, Humber Coastguard requested the immediate launch of Bridlington’s inshore lifeboat.
At 8.20pm on Christmas night, Bridlington inshore lifeboat Windsor Spirit launched into breaking seas and darkness with a volunteer crew of four. The helmsman for the call was Adrian Trower one of the station’s most experienced crewmen.
Two of the crew, Ashley Traves and Pete Jones, got the two searchlights ready to aid in the finding of the casualty, but as the inshore boat left the beach both lights were damaged in the breaking seas. Pete Jones managed to put one of the lights back together, but as he was trying to show the way the light shorted.
Requested by the Coastguard on scene, the lifeboat made its way to the seaward side of the harbour’s north pier. The sea conditions at the scene were not good, with waves hitting the pier and the esplanade, which meant the inshore crew needed to be alert at all times.
Helmsman Trower took the inshore boat along the length of the pier towards the beach, but nothing could be seen of the missing man. AS they turned back to sea, the lifeboat was almost grounded and the crew had to jump out to steady the boat.
Crewman Grant Walkington used this moment to get ashore with a radio to assist the search for the casualty. As the inshore boat searched the area, the crew were fully aware of how close they were to the sea wall and the submerged breakwaters running out to sea.
Once again the inshore lifeboat touched the beach and the crew jumped into the surf to steady the boat, which was now filling with water as the seas constantly broke onto it. Just after the crew turned to the sea again, the coastguard on the land sighted the casualty just over the breakwater.
Hearing this, Helmsman Trower and his crew headed out to sea to get around the breakwater, manoeuvring the inshore boat, which was full of water and very difficult to steer. But with great skill, the helmsman got the boat near to the casualty only for the sea to almost push him close to the boat. The two crew grabbed the man and get him on board.
With both crew on one side and the rough seas surrounding them, the lifeboat was in danger of being capsized. With a huge amount of effort, the two crew members managed to get the man on board.
Both crew are fully trained in first aid and began to help the man straight away as Helmsman Trower drove to shore as quickly as possible. Once on the shore the coastguards and a paramedic took over first aid before the casualty was taken by ambulance to Scarborough hospital. Sadly he later died.