Whitby RNLI volunteers rescue crew from grounded trawler
Author: Alison Levett, Divisional Media Relations Manager
Whitby RNLI’s all-weather and inshore lifeboats helped rescue the crew of a stricken trawler which later sank off the North Yorkshire coast this morning (Friday 15 October).
The fishing vessel Defiant ran aground a mile north of Sandsend early today. Humber Coastguard received a call for help at 6.35am and they immediately requested the launch of both Whitby’s RNLI lifeboats.
The lifeboats were on scene within seven minutes and the inshore lifeboat rescued two of crew from the Defiant, which was being buffeted by the swell and taking on water. As conditions onboard worsened, the two remaining Defiant crewmembers were winched by RAF helicopter and passed into the care of Whitby Coastguard Team and a North Yorkshire Ambulance crew.
The Whitby RNLI all-weather lifeboat volunteers succeeded in securing a towline to the Defiant to hold her position. Once the remaining crewmember and the skipper had been rescued, the lifeboat stayed with the Defiant, holding the tow firm for an hour until the tide rose and the RNLI volunteers were able to refloat the vessel.
Two members of the Whitby RNLI crew boarded the Defiant to assess her condition. They discovered all compartments below deck were flooded and the boat was listing severely.
After the two RNLI crew left the vessel, it was agreed with the coastguard and harbour authorities that the lifeboat would tow the Defiant towards the shore and beach her. Unfortunately, though, it became clear she was taking on too much water and the tow had to be cut as the Defiant rolled onto her starboard side and overturned. The vessel sank within five minutes.
Glenn Goodberry, Whitby RNLI Mechanic, said: ‘Fortunately the four crew are all safe, which is always our priority. We did our very best to save the vessel as well but the damage was too great and we had to abandon the tow and watch the Defiant sink. We know the skipper must be devastated – it is not often that we are unable to save a vessel and it is always extremely sad when a boat goes down.’