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Rescue of 2 boys from the cliff - 31st July 1998

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The letter was presented by District Inspector Kieron Nash on Monday 14th December 1998 and reads as follows:

Thornwick BayThornwick with weatherHelmsman Simon Robson
Crew Member Nigel Atkinson
Crew Member James Cross
Flamborough Lifeboat Station


A report has been received from your Divisional Inspector concerning a service by the Flamborough inshore lifeboat on 31st July 1998, when two people were reported cut off by the tide in Thornwick Bay, on the North side of Flamborough Head.

The inshore lifeboat 'Jason Logg', B703, launched into calm seas, light Northerly winds and good visibility. Passage was made at full speed towards Thornwick Bay. At 1658 the first youth was spotted from a range of a quarter of a cable, sheltering in a narrow cleft in the cliffs. As the lifeboat got closer the second youth was seen, ten metres from the first and also sheltering from the flooding tide and two metre onshore swell.

The lifeboat could not be veered down onto the cliffs because a breaking rocky scar masked the youths' position. Helmsman Simon Robson landed crew member James Cross at 1702 and then withdrew so that all persons could be kept in visual contact. James Cross got within five metres of the first youth but could get no further. The youth affirmed he was unhurt and James Cross instructed him to swim the short distance to him. As he approached James Cross entered the water and assisted him out of the sea. Having checked for injuries, James Cross fitted the youth with the survivors' life jacket and called the lifeboat.

The onshore and reflected swells had started to increase and Helmsman Simon Robson held position five metres out from the rock ledge. Crew member Nigel Atkinson threw a rope, which was caught on the first attempt and attached to the youth. The youth was hauled aboard at 1710 and again the lifeboat withdrew whilst James Cross made his way back towards the second youth. James Cross had to swim the last fifteen metres to this youths' position. The young man was very shaken and had to be calmed down whilst fitting him with the survivors' life jacket. James Cross explained that they would swim to the lifeboat together. At 1718 they both entered the water. Initially all went well but the youth panicked and started to cling to James Cross hampering his efforts.

The lifeboat was carefully steered across the rocky scar towards them whereupon Nigel Atkinson threw a rope which landed between them. James Cross made it fast to both of them and Simon Robson eased the lifeboat astern through the rocks and swell into clear water. Once clear the lifeboat was turned head to sea and first the youth and then James Cross were recovered. The second youth was placed in the ambulance pouch and the lifeboat left the scene at 1724, reaching the lifeboat station ten minutes later where the casualties were transferred to a waiting ambulance.

The successful outcome of this service was the result of excellent teamwork, good seamanship and a sound knowledge of the local shoreline and sea conditions. On behalf of my Committee I wish to congratulate all three of you on your professionalism and teamwork.

Very well done!
Yours Sincerely

David Acland
December 1998

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