Search for three missing divers

Monday 1 August 2016

Location: ½ mile off Coverack

Weather: SW 6, Rough Sea and Moderate Swell, Poor Visibility, Overcast with Rain

Inshore lifeboat (Launched 14:13 / Retasked 15:32) – Claire Angove (Helmsman), Tom Telford, Jamie Wakefield

All-weather lifeboat (Launched 14:16 / Retasked 14:57) – John Blakeston (Coxswain), Luke Wills, Dave Nicoll, Diane Bush, Jonathan Hackwell, Jamie Connoly, Adrian Hingston

Details:

At 14:06 Falmouth Coastguard requested that both Falmouth All Weather and Inshore Lifeboats be launched to assist in the search for three divers who were reported overdue by the Dive Boat Celtic Kitten while diving off Coverack. Lizard Lifeboat which was already afloat on a previous service at Polpeor Cove was also tasked, along with the Coastguard Helicopter and the Porthoustock Coastguard Rescue Team.

The Inshore Lifeboat launched from her slipway at 14:13 followed shortly afterwards by the All Weather Lifeboat which left its pontoon berth at 14:16. The Lizard Lifeboat arrived on scene at 14:30 and commenced a search towards the Manacles while the Falmouth Lifeboats were crossing Falmouth Bay. At 14:39 the Lizard Lifeboat spotted what was believed to be the casualties on the shore line at Lowland Point. The Falmouth Inshore Lifeboat arrived off the Manacle Buoy at 14:42, followed shortly afterwards by the Falmouth All Weather Lifeboat at 14:45. While the Coastguard Helicopter landed on Lowland Point to confirm if the people on the shoreline were the missing divers the two Falmouth Lifeboats commenced their search towards Coverack. At 14:54 it was confirmed that the casualties were safe ashore and did not require any medical attention.

Due to the sea conditions it was not possible to recover the divers from the shoreline so they made their way to Dean Quarry where they could be recovered by their dive boat, the Inshore Lifeboat being tasked to standby while this took place. At 14:57 the Lizard Lifeboat requested that Falmouth Lifeboat proceed to assist the yacht Tamsin which they had located near Coverack and required a tow to Falmouth. Once the divers were safely back on board the Celtic Kitten at 15:32 the Inshore Lifeboat was retasked to assist a yacht dragging its anchor off Trefusis Point in Falmouth Harbour.

The three experienced divers had been diving together off Coverack but had been reported overdue by their dive boat when they had not resurfaced as planned. It is believed that when the divers had surfaced they had not been spotted due to the prevailing sea conditions and had then been taken up the coast by the strong incoming tide, but had managed to swim ashore at Lowland Point.