Abandoned-Windsurfing-board-sparks-RNLI-search

Byline: The discovery of a fully rigged windsurfing board floating off Eastbourne pier yesterday (24 May) prompted a major search involving Eastbourne lifeboats, the coastguard rescue helicopter, coastguard teams and the police.
Page Content: The aban…

Byline: The discovery of a fully rigged windsurfing board floating off Eastbourne pier yesterday (24 May) prompted a major search involving Eastbourne lifeboats, the coastguard rescue helicopter, coastguard teams and the police.
Page Content: The abandoned windsurfing board, complete with sail, was discovered by the crew of a passing dive charter boat as they were returning to Sovereign Harbour and was immediately reported to Dover Coastguard. Fearful that someone was in the water, a major search and rescue effort was initiated. Both Eastbourne lifeboats were launched and Coastguard rescue helicopter 104 was scrambled. Local coastguard teams were also paged to attend. The rescue co-ordination centre at Dover Coastguard used computer models of wind and tide to map out search patterns for all services covering an area from Cow Gap to Pevensey Bay. The all-weather lifeboat (ALB) searched a parallel area from the pier heading west while the inshore lifeboat (ILB) searched an expanding area from the position where the surfboard was found. When the rescue helicopter joined the search it covered an area from Pevensey Bay to Beachy Head. Meanwhile local coastguard teams and police patrolled the beaches for possible clues and passing yachts were requested to keep a sharp lookout. When all comprehensive search patterns were completed with nothing found and in good visibility the decision was taken to stand all services down. In standing down Eastbourne lifeboats Dover Coastguard commended the volunteer crews for the speed of launch and the thoroughness and accuracy of their search.

Whilst both teams were refuelling and preparing the lifeboats for service the pagers where once again activated. This time a kite surfer was reported as being in trouble outside Sovereign Harbour. The ALB stood by whilst the casualty was taken aboard the ILB and returned to the beach from where he started.