Published on: 09/05/2012 11:05 AMReported by: roving-eye
At 1pm on Bank Holiday Sunday May 6 the Lytham St Annes Inshore Lifeboat Sally was called out when a Sunseeker 21 motor cruiser ran aground in the River Ribble.
The casualty had sailed from Preston Marina when engine failure caused her to drift onto a sand bank two miles downriver from the dock. The crew of two were unable to refloat the vessel as the tide ebbed and as the lady member of the crew was heavily pregnant and expecting within days it was felt unsafe for her to stay aboard until the following high tide in 12 hours time.
The Lytham ILB was launched with four volunteer crew members, Helmsman Mike Casey, Niki Bignell, Dave Hillier and Ben McGarry on board and headed upriver the seven miles to the Sunseeker. The couple from Rotherham were taken off the stranded boat and, due to the lady’s condition, were landed at the nearest point on the North bank of the Ribble at the Clifton Marsh facility where the Lytham St Annes Coastguard vehicle was waiting.
Coastguard Officer Paul Little and his men then drove the couple back to Preston. After laying out anchors and securing the Sunseeker the ILB returned to Lytham.
At 11.40pm the ILB was launched again with the same crew to recover the vessel which by then had refloated on the high tide and was lying to her anchors.
Lifeboat crew member Dave Hillier was transferred on board and with the casualty’s engine repaired, the Sally escorted the vessel, in case of further engine problems, to her berth in Preston Marina. The ILB returned to her station at 1.50am on Monday and was cleaned, refuelled and ready for service again by 2.30am.
Helmsman Mike Casey said, “Although the weather was good at the time, it was felt unwise to leave the lady aboard the vessel at low water when it would have been impossible to reach her if conditions had changed.”
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