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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution - Saves Lives at Sea

TRAINING IS FOLLOWED BY REAL LIFE INCIDENT

11/04/2005

The RNLI Lifeboat at Kinghorn put some of their training into practice, less than 24 hours after a training exercise.

During Sunday afternoon, the lifeboat was busy carrying out training along with an RAF Sea King Helicopter, practicing manoeuvring and conveying of casualties between the lifeboat and the helicopter. The RAF Helicopter landed in Kinghorn around noon, and brought out local sightseers to Myers Park where it touched down.

The crew were transported to the lifeboat station, where after a briefing between the rescue organisations, the Helicopter carried out training with the lifeboat crews on the Forth.

Helmsman Paul Wibberly described the reasons for the training, "With less than 10% of new RNLI crewmembers having a maritime background, regular training is more vital than ever before. Lifeboat crews train each week of every year and many station crew members will take part in courses either at their station, within a mobile training unit or at The Lifeboat College in Poole. Progressive, specialist training prepares lifeboat crews to operate safely and effectively in the most difficult and dangerous conditions. To be an RNLI crew member every volunteer gives up their time to undergo about 156 hours of competence based training per year – an average of twice every week. The training covers areas such as sea survival, seamanship, radio and radar usage, navigation, first aid, fire fighting and marine engineering. It costs around £4500 to train a probationer to become an ILB Helmsman, the average training costs per crewmember per year is £1000, however this ensures that the volunteers are highly trained."

Unknown to Paul at the time of the training, he would have cause to put some of the training into action within 24 hours.

Around 9am this morning (11/04/05) the crews pagers were activated to carry out a 'medivac' a medical evacuation from a 20,000 ton tanker at anchor in Kirkcaldy Bay.

The lifeboat crew of Paul Wibberly, his wife Joanne, Andy Preston and Mike Teevan reacted to the call with shore crewman Norman Soutar launching the lifeboat from the marine tractor.

The crew were advised by the coastguard that an injured seaman was aboard the tanker called the 'Stafford'. On arrival, crewman Andy Preston had to climb up the 9 metre ladder to assess the casualty. The Latvian man in his 40's was seen to be 'walking wounded' and capable of assisting in his transfer from the tanker. The man had been given morphine for pain by the tanker crew prior to the arrival of the lifeboat. The lifeboat managed to transfer the casualty back to Kinghorn Bay where an Ambulance was waiting to convey him to the Victoria Hospital for treatment.

Paul's wife, Joanne Wibberly later said of the call, 'The casualty was a Latvian man who couldn't speak English but I think we were able to put his mind at ease during the transfer, and give him a warm welcome to Scotland, despite his injuries. Had his injuries been more severe we may have found ourselves working with the same Helicopter that we trained with yesterday!'

Joanne Wibberley

RAF 131 with Kinghorn Lifeboat