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Praise for 'selfless' lifeboat rescuers

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 02, 2013

RNLI crew member Matt Main and helmsman Andy Cameron were both involved in the Tintagel rescue

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A lifeboat crew has been praised for its courageous actions in rescuing a fisherman on New Year's Eve who was suffering from hypothermia.

Port Isaac RNLI launched the D class inshore lifeboat Copeland Bell following reports that a fisherman had been washed off rocks and into the sea at Tintagel Head, North Cornwall.

In challenging conditions, helmsman Andy Cameron and crew Nicky Bradbury and Matt Main managed to find the man who had been in the water for around an hour, and get him into the lifeboat.

As the light faded, they then received mixed reports that another person might be in the water.

Assisted by a search and rescue helicopter, the lifeboat crew spent a further 30 minutes searching the water before finding a life ring, which its thought may have been mistaken for a second casualty.

The crew decided the best option in the conditions was to meet an ambulance at Boscastle Harbour so he could be taken to hospital.

Boscastle harbour master Christopher Key, who oversaw the arrival of the lifeboat, has now written to Bob Bulgin, chairman of the Port Isaac RNLI lifeboat station, praising the crew.

"The weather conditions between Tintagel at Boscastle were appalling with high winds and a heavy ground sea running at about 8-10ft swell size and large sets of waves I would estimate as much as 14ft, which were breaking across the harbour mouth," Mr Key wrote. "With the tide flooding the ground sea was particularly aggressive.

"I have no doubt that the decision to enter Boscastle harbour with the light fading and nearly gone was extremely difficult and in my opinion the courage and ability demonstrated by the crew, not only in the initial rescue but also in safely navigating the entrance to Boscastle harbour through heavy surf with rocks littered all around, was of the highest calibre.

"I know that the crew selflessly put their own lives at very great risk last night. On behalf of my (Boscastle Harbour) association we appreciate their outstanding conduct."

Mr Bulgin said the letter would be warmly received by the crew volunteers and the station team.

He said: "I'm delighted that the Boscastle harbour master has sent the crew a letter of thanks as their actions were truly selfless and very brave."

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