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Old 22 November 2004, 13:26   #1
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An incident + something to think about??

Unfortunately I helped out on a rescue somebody after an incident where somebody got hurt over the weekend.

The bottom line somebody had seriously hurt their back and neck and was in the water. His friends had fitted a neck brace and spine board and were in the water with him. It was bitterly cold but everybody in the water did have dry suits.

We attended following a mayday call and discovered about 15 small boats scattered across a square mile area. The little boats had 2 large RIBS with limited safety gear, no GPS (viz was about 1.5miles) compass or first aid kits. One of the Ribs had a driver who quote "didn’t know how to drive it" so a friend hopped into it and acted as a safety boat for the little boats whilst I went back to the other RIB and tried to stop other boat users from driving over the bodies in the water. I asked repeatedly if they want to bring him into my boat as the casualty was very cold and obviously hypothermic. The casualties friends declined despite the neck brace and spine board.

An inshore lifeboat (nice bit of kit)(not the RNLI) attended and went straight to the casualty. They spoke directly to the coasties and a helicopter was dispatched. They made no effort to get him out of the water, despite the waves which were causing the casualty agony (he was head on to the waves so he felt every wavelength) Then another rib turned up. nice diesel water jet thingy about 3 tonnes worth. He crashed into me at about ten knots and told me I "shouldn’t wave at him and he would tell me what to do not the other way round." The boat had a plaque about 5 inches by 2 saying ILB ...!

They then drove off scrapping my tubes from bow to stern towards the casualty. Then went up wind of him so that the boat kept blowing over the people in the water. They were not very happy at this and to say didn't look comfortable would be an understatement!

The helicopter had arrived and so had a load of yachts! The first ILB asked us to keep the yachts clear of the area which we did. Most boats quickly turned away but as ever there were a few hardcore helicopter collectors!

The helicopter winch man was put on to the first ILB after about 15 mins and he entered the water. The second ILB was still up wind and the people in the water had their feet on the hull to stop going underneath it.

FORTY MINS later the person was airlifted horizontally out of the water and taken to hospital. The casualties friends were cold but OK and they were taken to mainland. Went then went back to our NDP.

So why the long rant? I may have the wrong impression or just not understood what was happening but;

1) The first lifeboat was prompt to attend but lacked a co-ordinated approach once on the scene. They very quickly got the winch man on to the boat. They had appropriate equipment and stationed themselves sensibly.

2) The second ILB was rude and quite frankly not capable of driving the boat they had been given. I my opinion he was a hindrance to the operation not a help. Fine many of you will disagree or say your not the one on standby etc. I am aware of these things but, the quality of this rescue team was not really up to scratch.

3) Why did the safety boats not have better kit on board like a GPS or people who were familiar with the boats?

I hope this prompts some discussion and something we can learn from not an attack on me and others.

I would be interested to heard of anybody "in the know" who can explain why things happened in that particular order.

Chris
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Old 22 November 2004, 13:45   #2
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where in the UK was this? were both boats non RNLI?


edit to add: doesnt sound Like RNLI quality training, and maybe you should complain to the Lifeboat Station both these vessels came from and maybe the Coastguard.
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Old 22 November 2004, 13:49   #3
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I am a member of a boat club which has three safety/rescue boats. We are supposed to carry a load of safety kit, which we try to do. However, with so many different people using the boats on a daily basis, things can easily go missing/get used and not replaced. It's quite a job to keep things like first aid kits topped up sometimes. Things like knives tend to get removed to be used elsewhere and then not put back.

However, a coastal rescue operation is a bit different. Surly if operating in a safety RIB on the sea, as you say, they should have GPS. A boat that's not being used daily shouldn't be low on things like first aid eqiptment.

As a footnote, when I did a course of water safety, we were told to get the casulty out of the water as soon as possible. To me, leaving someone with spinal injuries in the water for forty minutes isn't going to do him any favors!
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Old 22 November 2004, 13:51   #4
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if the casualty was on a spinal board in the water it would have been fairly easy to lift them carefully (and slowly) out of the water and onto the deck of the rib or the sponsons if deck not possible!!!
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Old 22 November 2004, 14:27   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJL
then a other rib turned up. nice diesel water jet thingy about 3 tonnes worth. He crashed into me at about ten knots and told me I "shouldn’t wave at him and he would tell me what to do not the other way round." The boat had a plaque about 5 inches by 2 saying ILB ...!

They then drove off scrapping my tubes from bow to stern towards the casualty.

2) The second ILB was rude and quite frankly not capable of driving the boat they had been given. I my opinion he was a hindrance to the operation not a help. Fine many of you will disagree or say your not the one on standby etc. I am aware of these things but, the quality of this rescue team was not really up to scratch.

Chris
seems to be like the bloke on that 999 program on sky i watched this guy had a big rib with two crew kept shouting what he was doing but went to help a small sailing boat and ran over it crashed in to a lagre motor boat at some speed that had a traped anchor chain. and the worst bit a small sailing boat had lost it mast so one of his crew jumped in to push the mast to the rear so they could tow and he' i could not belive it hit his own crew in the head with the bow

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Old 22 November 2004, 14:43   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJL

The bottom line somebody had seriously hurt their back and neck and was in the water. His friends had fitted a neck brace and spine board and were in the water with him. It was bitterly cold but everybody in the water did have dry suits.

I went back to the other RIB and tried to stop other boat users from driving over the bodies in the water. I asked repeatedly if they want to bring him into my boat as the casualty was very cold and obviously hypothermic. The casualties friends declined despite the neck brace and spine board.

An inshore lifeboat (nice bit of kit)(not the RNLI) attended and went straight to the casualty. They spoke directly to the coasties and a helicopter was dispatched. They made no effort to get him out of the water, despite the waves which were causing the casualty agony (he was head on to the waves so he felt every wavelength) Then another rib turned up. nice diesel water jet thingy about 3 tonnes worth. He crashed into me at about ten knots and told me I "shouldn’t wave at him and he would tell me what to do not the other way round." The boat had a plaque about 5 inches by 2 saying ILB ...!

They then drove off scrapping my tubes from bow to stern towards the casualty. Then went up wind of him so that the boat kept blowing over the people in the water. They were not very happy at this and to say didn't look comfortable would be an understatement!

The helicopter had arrived and so had a load of yachts! The first ILB asked us to keep the yachts clear of the area which we did. Most boats quickly turned away but as ever there were a few hardcore helicopter collectors!

The helicopter winch man was put on to the first ILB after about 15 mins and he entered the water. The second ILB was still up wind and the people in the water had their feet on the hull to stop going underneath it.

FORTY MINS later the person was airlifted horizontally out of the water and taken to hospital. The casualties friends were cold but OK and they were taken to mainland. Went then went back to our NDP.





Chris
I think you did a good job from the sounds of it , hard to say why the safety boats had limited safety kit (WHO WAS CARRYING THE COLLAR AND SPINAL BOARD apologise for late edit)
the guys in the water did a good job getting a collar on and then onto a spinal board not sure why they did not get him onto your rib as you say 40 mins in the water hypothermia is setting in .
As to the ribs and how they handled it ,well rib 1 started ok but may be the helocopter knew its eta and decided best to leave casualty there as to reduce further movement so no comment as was not there ,rib 2 no excuse for being rude and bad boat handling he could of been trying to present himself to the waves to lesson the impact of the guy in the water , who should have been 90 degrees to the oncoming waves to lesson the impact so may be thats why the rib 2 positioned itself where it did, In a situation like this preservation of life is no1 priority he was secured to a spinal board and had a neck brace and then evacuated hoizontally to minimise movement and and post immersion collapse .They could still have put the casualty on any of the ribs and placed coats towels anything else to hand to keep him warm while waiting for the Helocopter but maybe it was their call, an average build adult will survive 2-3 hours in 10Deg C . So maybe again by leaving the casualty in the water was the call of the helocopter and reduce the windchill was it cold that day and windy very hard to say what action to take .I think you did a good job and handled it well .
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Old 22 November 2004, 15:19   #7
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not quite on the safety topic - sorry , but how come he was in the water. Was he fliped out of one of the 2 ribs or the little boats

Paul
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Old 22 November 2004, 15:45   #8
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Quote:
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not quite on the safety topic - sorry , but how come he was in the water. Was he fliped out of one of the 2 ribs or the little boats

Paul
Without naming anywhere or anybody the casualty was thrown from one of the smaller boats. I'm glad I'm not the only person who considers it took a long time. I`m considering writting to the second lifeboats station to get some sort of apology.

It make you think about what training the rescue organisations get. I`m sure that in most cases the training is 100% but I think the weekend change my views.

The MCA web site has a code of conduct for rescue boats which should be implemented soon. Its been done with various organisations inc the RNLI who I know are busy training their old salty sea dog skippers how to do a level 2 pb ticket. Crazy in most cases but it certainly ensures everybody knows the basics.


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Old 22 November 2004, 16:03   #9
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The MCA web site has a code of conduct for rescue boats which should be implemented soon. Its been done with various organisations inc the RNLI who I know are busy training their old salty sea dog skippers how to do a level 2 pb ticket. Crazy in most cases but it certainly ensures everybody knows the basics.


Chris
Bloody typical - some idiot with a level 2 more qualified than an RNLI cox with 20 years experience!!!!
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Old 22 November 2004, 16:06   #10
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Crazy I know!

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Old 22 November 2004, 16:11   #11
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Was this the zap-cat accident?
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Old 22 November 2004, 16:24   #12
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Using mobile to access web so won't go into long reply... might comment on the Ambo side of things later...

Just wanted to agree with DanielTD5... that was my first thought as to who it was too!

That program was too painful to watch. It did nothing to increase the public awareness of the ILBs and indeed I intial thoughts were the public would associate it with the RNLI and actually think what the f*ck - I thought they were professionals!

Anyway of topic.

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Old 22 November 2004, 17:30   #13
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It wasn't 'the zapcat incident' it was some asymetric dinghies on the south coast. It doesn't really matter in any case.
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Old 22 November 2004, 18:44   #14
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Being there, the thing that worried me was the "approach" of the rescue service as CJL described.

Having worked with the RNLI and other Rescue teams it is rare that an unfortunate encounter occurs such as the one we had.

It certainly didnt contribute to a faster, safer, more successfull outcome, but then again, easily said when you are not the one on call up on a sunday afternoon, and maybe we were not in posession of all the facts, but i feel being 10 yards away from the action constitues a fairly good vantage point.

Some good lessons were learned that i think we can all take from, learn, and ensure that if we are in that situation again we all do the same; the best we can.

I know that we have been going through the motions of basic heli rescue stuff for years but as CJL prescribed earlier in this thread, the Safety Boat Code of Practice needs developing, and it is up to us, the consumers to make sure that we have the correct kit on board to deal with such matters as and when they arise..........because they do!

has anybody else had any similar experiences lately? or any really positive heli extracts to put my mind at rest?
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Old 23 November 2004, 03:51   #15
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For detailed Helo rescues talk to the mid atlantic swimmer....Alan P

A casualty with a spinal injury or suspected spinal injury is probably the worst sort your'll come across, recovery into a rib is probably the easiest option as the stern tube can be deflated and the impobilized casualty floated onto the deck, a back board certainly makes things easier in these circumstances.
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Old 23 November 2004, 04:24   #16
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what suprised me is if there were people there who had the training and knowledge to collar and board this guy, why was he still in the water?

If he was stable on the board I would have got him out of the water onto a boat and tried to warm him. Dry suit or not the water is not the best place for him.

Maybe I have that wrong am sure DM would have done the same.
Leaving him in the water for that length of time is not good.

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Old 23 November 2004, 04:46   #17
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Now before I start let me explain I just about know how to apply a plaster to myself and cannot be considered in anyway a doctor, unless you are female and have sore bre**ts in which case I'm a consultant

Although leaving someone in the water will bring on hypothermia it can act as a artificial pain killer and provide support, due to buoyancy, for the injured area.

I have seen people with broken legs/arms left in the water for ages until the extraction method is all set with all parties understanding what to do and when.

And as a final piece of medical advice if you are at sea when you have a dirty open wound that needs sterilising. Drop your trousers and pee on it !!!

Cheers

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Old 23 November 2004, 04:56   #18
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That final bit of advice I`ll give a miss thank you!

Have you seen the Friends episode when they all go to the beach???

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Old 23 November 2004, 05:43   #19
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So you don't want my maggots advice either

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Old 23 November 2004, 09:30   #20
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Although leaving someone in the water will bring on hypothermia it can act as a artificial pain killer
Yep, I'd agree with Mr. Wildey on that. Death is a very effective pain killer.

It's hard to say what should have been done without being there and a local knowledge of availability/nearness of medical facilities but 40 minutes in the water sounds a bit of a joke to me. Spinal injury in the water is difficult to assess and deal with, even for a pro, but I suspect I'd have had him in the boat sharpish. I'm not a big fan of spinal boards anyway. A vacuum matress is more effective at contour stabilisation.

The stats show that the percentage of members of ILB's with professional seafaring experience is far less than twenty years ago leading to a degradation in boat handling skills.

Anyway, a good learning experience, for Chris and the rest of us, that as far as Voluntary Organisations are concerned, there's no guarantee of a quality service. There's no guarantee with the pro services either, but I'll go with the odds thank you.

Never trust a volunteer.

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