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Looe Lifeboat Volunteer Hailed a Hero

Newquay RNLI D class inshore lifeboat
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9:45am 17th February 2014
(Updated 9:45am 17th February 2014)

Hailed a hero: the Looe lifeboat volunteer who braved stormy seas to help rescue a woman cut off by the tide.

Ben Crabb swam to the beach at Tregantle near Whitsand Bay after the 20 year old suffered a serious head injury on Sunday night.

Huge waves meant the lifeboat could not get close enough.

A helicopter from RNAS Culdrose winched her and two others to safety.

The RNLI has released this statement:

Volunteers from Looe RNLI rescued a 20-year-old woman from Tregantle beach this evening after she sustained a serious head injury and became cut off by the tide. With a southerly force 4-5 wind blowing and a large swell the conditions were too difficult for the lifeboat to get into the beach, so a volunteer crewmember swam ashore with the first aid kit to administer emergency casualty care.

The crew was alerted by pager at 4.50pm this afternoon (Sunday 16th February) and the Atlantic class lifeboat Alan & Margaret was launched and proceeded to the scene.

Arriving on scene the crew communicated with HM Tamar Coastguard volunteers who were also in attendance on scene ashore. Three attempts were made to steer the lifeboat into the beach but with a strong swell these all failed, so a helicopter was requested to assist. In the meantime volunteer crewmember Ben Crabb grabbed the first aid kit and swam through difficult conditions the remaining 50 yards to the beach. He administered casualty care to the woman, who was slipping in and out of consciousness.

Rescue 193 from Culdrose arrived on scene shortly after and airlifted the casualty to the top of the cliffs where an ambulance was waiting. She was transported by road to hospital.

The woman had been on the beach with two other men and three dogs. The helicopter then lifted each casualty and the dogs to the top of the cliff, as they were also cut off and unable to reach the top unaided. Volunteer crewmember Ben Crabb was also airlifted to the top of the cliff and was taken back to Looe station by Coastguard colleagues.

Lifeboat Operations Manager David Haines said: "This was a particularly challenging shout given the strong wind, large swells and lack of light. The lifeboat was unable to reach the casualty so Ben volunteered to swim into the beach with the first aid kit, which was difficult in the swell. He did extremely well to swim through the surf and was able to provide essential casualty care treatment to the woman until the helicopter was able to airlift her to the waiting paramedics."

9:45am 17th February 2014

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