Eastbourne lifeboats were involved in multi-agency incidents for most of Thursday (3rd May) eventually recovering two bodies from the sea
The volunteer crew of Eastbourne’s inshore lifeboat (ILB) were paged at 07.30 to assist local coastguards and police with a shoreline search of the Beachy Head area for a missing female thought to be in a distressed state. With nothing found the ILB was stood down and returned to station. At 11.30 the ILB was again requested to launch, followed by Eastbourne’s all-weather lifeboat (ALB), when reports were received that a car had been driven off the cliffs at Beachy Head. When on scene the submerged wreck was found but it was impossible to ascertain whether the driver was still inside. The surrounding area was searched with nothing found. The agencies on scene, in consultation with the co-ordinating authority at the UK Coastguard, decided nothing more could be done until low tide so both boats returned to station. Shortly after making the boat ready for service the ILB crew were paged again and requested to recover the body of a female which had been washed ashore at Birling Gap.
At 15.10 both boats were relaunched to assist with the previous incident involving the car over the cliffs. Fire and rescue professionals and their equipment were ferried from Birling Gap to the scene where they eventually cut a male occupant from the wreckage. The ILB then returned the casualty to the lifeboat station where he was passed into the care of the police coroner some 12 hours after the initial call.
Later RNLI spokesman Bob Jeffery commended the volunteer lifeboat crew saying, “Most people do not witness the horrific scenes that these young men dealt with today in a lifetime. They are a credit to the station and the RNLI for the manner in which they conducted themselves and the way the casualties were handled with utmost respect and dignity.”