Lifeboat rescue drama in Blackpool

RNLI rescuers help lead kayaker to safety after his vessel overturned off Blackpool
RNLI rescuers help lead kayaker to safety after his vessel overturned off Blackpool

PEOPLE were today urged to respect the sea after it was revealed Blackpool’s lifeboat crews received more call-outs than anywhere else in the North West.

RNLI crews launched from the resort’s Promenade station 92 times last year, pulling 23 people from the water.

They included a kayaker rescued after he capsized in October, a woman seized after walking into the sea and two men pulled to safety after their yacht capsized in Lytham.

But among the success stories there have been tragedies with 17-year-old David Sagar swept to his death after falling off the sea wall in March and 41-year-old Paul Morris still missing after being dragged into the water on New Year’s Day.

And Paul Parton, launching authority for Blackpool RNLI, said: “The poor boy who fell off the wall and drowned was one of the lows of the year.

“The RNLI is a charity which saves lives and usually we are successful, but that time we weren’t.

“But then in the summer we launched to a report of a swimmer in trouble at South Pier and we got to him, rescued him and he survived, so we went from a low point to a very high point.

“Saving lives is why we do this and when you do it is the best feeling.”

The number of calls received by Blackpool bucked a falling trend across the region, with crews launching 19 per cent fewer times last year, a statistic put down to one of the wettest summers on record.

Mr Parton said: “We had 92 incidents which is about double the normal amount.

“Blackpool is an extremely busy seaside resort. It gets millions of visitors and consequently they will be in trouble in the sea sometimes.

“Sometimes the people we go out to are drunk, sometimes they are depressed, and sometimes it’s a false alarm but typically it is people in the water we are called to and we have to get to them quickly.”

In the aftermath of Mr Sagar’s death The Gazette launched its Think Sea Safety campaign to encourage people to pay attention to sea warnings, and Mr Parton today echoed that in a bid to cut down on the number of people in need of rescuing.

He added: “We have a very safe beach at Blackpool but the danger time is when the tide comes in and reaches the wall.

“That’s when we ask people to respect the sea.”

Sunderland RNLI was the only northern station to receive more call outs than Blackpool, with 100 launches and 100 rescues.

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