Friday, 4 January 2013

Firefighters issue safety warning following tragic death

Hastings firefighters who were first on the scene to rescue a woman who got into difficulty following a Christmas Day paddle are warning of the dangers lurking in choppy seas.

The woman was knocked off her feet by a wave and hit her head on a groyne at Hastings Beach about 10.40am on 25thDecember.

The emergency call was made to the Mobilising and Communications Centre via a mobile phone on Christmas Day morning, alerting ESFRS to a person in the water at the Marina in St Leonards-on-Sea, opposite the Royal Victoria Hotel.

As the emergency call handler spoke to the caller the information was simultaneously relayed to the Coastguard.

The decision was taken that a fire engine from Bohemia Road would be dispatched to liaise with the Lifeboat, as necessary, and be backed up by the Technical Rescue Unit from Battle.

As it turned out, crews were the first emergency service on the scene and as the female had drifted back within reach of the shore, one of the firefighters with a line attached, in a dry suit, was able to recover the unconscious female casualty from the choppy sea and bring her back onto the beach. The crews started resuscitation whilst paramedics carried out their assessments and stabilised the patient.

The woman was then taken to hospital but sadly died as a result of the incident.

Crew Commander Dave Sulivan said:

“Please be aware of rough sea conditions and don’t go near the foreshore when the red flags are flying and be aware that the forces of the sea can take you away unexpectedly.”

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