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Volunteers step in after rescue at sea

12 October 2010

Capsized British Cormorant crew members in coastguard helicopter© InfoWhen six tanker crew members were rescued from the sea, fire and emergency support service volunteers were on hand to make sure they were provided for after they safely reached dry land.

The crew – from the British Cormorant – were taking part in an emergency exercise just off the Isle of Wight on 13 September when their rescue boat capsized. Fortunately, they were all wearing lifejackets and were quickly hoisted to safety by the Solent coastguard helicopter.

Once on dry land, the crew was checked over in hospital and then given accommodation in a local hotel. However, they had no belongings with them – and that’s where the Red Cross fire and emergency support service (FESS) stepped in to help.

‘Still in pyjamas’

FESS volunteer team Kevin Bowles and Shane Randall soon arrived in their specially-adapted vehicle, which contains essential items such as clothing, toiletries and even shower facilities.

Kevin recalled: “The guys came out and they had literally nothing. They were still in their hospital pyjamas and wrapped in hospital blankets, so were understandably very pleased to see us!

“We kitted them out with clothes and toiletry packs from our FESS vehicle but they still needed a few more items, such as shoes. Fortunately, we have an agreement with Tesco nationally that we can call on their stores in an emergency to provide items, so we contacted the local Ryde store and they couldn’t do enough for us.”

‘Exceeded expectations’

He added: “The British Red Cross was called out because those looking out for the crew didn’t know who else to turn to. We are always there in an emergency.”

Ian Collins, resilience manager at Isle of Wight Council, said: “The Red Cross response exceeded my expectations. The volunteers were so keen to help people in need and made a real difference with their actions.”

Learn more about the fire and emergency support service (FESS)


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