Bude Coastguard callouts in a crazily busy 2020

Info from Bude coastguard Facebook page:
Bude Coastguard Rescue Team was paged at 15:01 on 30th December to attend Crooklets Beach to assist the South Western Ambulance Service  to locate and recover a female casualty with a suspected dislocated shoulder. She was quickly spotted on the rocks directly in front of the Crooklets Beach Lifeguard tower, accompanied by a First Responder from Holsworthy. Although the casualty was in a lot of pain, the fast incoming tide and slippery rock on which she was located forced quick actions.
Using the stretcher as a sled, the secured casualty was carefully lowered off the main rock. The Coastguard Rescue Officers on scene (two of whom are First Responders, and one an Emergency Care Assistant for the Ambulance Service) then immobilised her arm with a sling, helped her up, and walked her carefully off the beach, utilising a wet towel placed on the rocks to provide more grip as they proceeded.
Once safely off the beach, the casualty waited in the Coastguard Rescue Vehicle until the ambulance arrived and took her off to North Devon District Hospital.

Towards Crooklets

In 2020, the team attended 53 incidents, averaging at over one per week – their busiest year ever. They also spent many hours providing mutual aid patrols at the behest of Devon & Cornwall Police colleagues, as the community came to terms with the ‘new normal’ that saw restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Amidst this tumultuous year they also saw plenty of ‘regular’ call-outs, beginning with a very sad one on January 10th.
There was the usual share of dramatic moments…
  • The team attended an incident at Hartland Point, where a seriously injured but seriously lucky cliff faller had managed to raise the attention of nearby workers, who were just about to finish for the day.
  • The team also assisted colleagues from Boscastle in a very challenging stretcher carry in wet and muddy conditions, from the base to the top of Strangles Beach.
  • There was also an incident in which a kayaker found himself in strong offshore winds and blown far, far out to sea. Luckily, he had a phone with a full battery and, working alongside colleagues on board the Coastguard Rescue helicopter and Bude Lifeboat, the gentleman (and his kayak) were safely retrieved.

There were also some lighter moments throughout the year:
  • The team were paged following the report of a naked male, possibly in distress, having just emerged from the water at Northcott Mouth. Luckily, it turned out to be a wild swimmer, enjoying a bracing morning dip.
  • There was also an incident involving a mysterious oil drum that had washed up on the beach at Widemouth Bay, that looked to be leaking hazardous content onto the beach and into the sea – attending with colleagues from Bude Community Fire Station, a good sniff of the contents revealed it to be human sewage rather than oil. Ew! 
As ever, there were of course some very distressing incidents too. Some involved dogs, who sadly never made it back from their coastal walks, while some invariably involved humans. These incidents in particular have been documented elsewhere in the media. It is worth noting how the true essence of teamwork shines through at times like these – not only in dealing with the situation at hand professionally and with the utmost respect for those involved – but extending into the hours, days, and weeks afterward, where team members check in on each other, making sure they’re doing ok, and offering an opportunity to talk, should they need one.
The Coastguard Team added:
We’d like to round things off for 2020 by firstly thanking the entire community of Bude and the surrounding areas for your support and assistance throughout the year, as we dealt with the effects and restrictions of the pandemic alongside our ‘normal’ duties. Our job was made that much easier by a community that wholeheartedly embraced the national effort in combatting the spread of the virus by staying indoors, despite a very sunny and warm springtime. Your ongoing support and kind wishes throughout the year really did mean an awful lot to every member of the team.We’d also like to pass on our thanks and gratitude to our neighbouring teams, Boscastle Coastguard Team and Hartland Coastguard Search and Rescue Team, who we’ve had the pleasure of working with on several occasions this year, and who are always ready to assist us when required. Thanks also to our friends and colleagues onboard the Coastguard Rescue helicopter ‘Rescue 924’, based in Newquay (always a reassuring sight to behold as it arrives overhead during an incident), the Cornwall Air Ambulance team, the Bude Lifeboat crew, Bude Community First Responders and Bude’s RNLI Lifeguards, who in particular worked extremely hard this year, despite the uncertainty and challenges that they faced due to the pandemic. Last but not least, thanks to our families and friends, who all understand that when the pagers go off, so do we (and often at the most inconvenient times…)
As we approach 2021, the message remains much as it has for the majority of this year – stay alert, stay safe, and should you see anyone in trouble on the coast, on the cliffs or in the sea, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
Thanks to all the Coastguard Team and everyone else on their list which creates a truly amazing collaborative team for Bude.

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